Keeping Germs At Bay
- Know the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning removes visible soil, dirt, stains and other debris from surfaces. It is generally performed by wiping surfaces down using a multi-purpose cleaner or soap and water. Disinfection destroys viruses, bacteria, germs and other harmful microorganisms. It is accomplished by using a chemical designed specifically to kill bacteria. One of the simplest ways to make sure ensure proper disinfection is to use a reliable name brand disinfectant with all of the proper paperwork to back up its kill-claims.
- Provide on-site training on a continual basis. Disinfectants require accurate dilution, correct application and the proper dwell time. Simply spraying and wiping a disinfectant may not kill harmful bacteria. Some disinfectants require 30 second contact times, while others may require up to 10 minutes. It is important to provide ongoing training to ensure the cleaning staff is trained with the latest cleaning procedures to ensure disinfection.
- Concentrate on disinfecting areas that may normally get overlooked. For instance, cleaning personnel often focus on gym mats because they’re breeding grounds for Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is an infection caused by a strain of staph bacteria that has become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections. Because more cross contamination occurs on a computer keyboard or a telephone than on gym mats, schools should use disinfectants on all high-touch surfaces throughout a school.
- Practice proper office hygiene.
- Sick workers stay home! Develop policies that encourage employees to stay home when they are experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever, body aches, diarrhea, vomiting, etc…).
- Use your own stapler. Although we teach our kids that sharing is good, when it comes to stopping the spread of germs at work, sharing office supplies is frowned upon.
- Wash your hands. Use soap, warm water and rinse long enough to say the alphabet or sing “Happy Birthday.” Recent studies show plain soap and water works just as well, if not better than antibacterial soaps.
- Go Hands-free. Wherever possible, make “no touch” options available—including wastebaskets, soap dispensers, faucets, and paper towel dispensers. Also, position a wastebasket near the bathroom door, so people exiting can easily discard paper towels used to open the door.
- Cough etiquette. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve. Dispose of used tissues in “no touch” wastebaskets.
- Thoroughly clean with disinfectants. Viruses and bacteria can live up to two hours or longer on staplers, doorknobs, keyboards, mouse pads, refrigerator handles, countertops, railings, faucets, and more. More than 500 antimicrobial products are registered by Environmental Protection Agency specifically for use against influenza A virus. Approved products specifically have label information which states they provide effectiveness against Influenza A viruses.
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