Influenza activity ebbs and flows based on any number of factors, but it tends to grow momentum in October and November, peaking between December and February, before finally trickling off. But, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu season can last as late as May, which means facility professionals should never let their guard down.
There have been many studies done on cross-contamination and how quickly germs and bacteria can spread through a facility. Stopping that spread is where custodial operations comes in.
Cleaning workers can help curb the spread of germs by paying more attention to areas they may not normally clean, as well as high-touch surfaces. According to KGUN9 reporting, staff should pay a special attention to phone headsets, copy machine buttons, microwave handles, refrigerator handles, conference room tables, light switch plates.
People touch these items everyday, but they may not get cleaned regularly. The neglect makes it easy for bacteria and viruses to spread.
Custodial professionals should also help educate building occupants on the importance of keeping a clean workspace. These personal spaces are omitted from most cleaning specs, and therefore rarely receive attention.
The same is true for coffee mugs or water cups. Building occupants should know that rinsing is not the same as washing. In fact, although the chances of catching the flu virus from an office kitchen item are small, it is not impossible.
CleanLink reported that the flu virus can stay on a surface for up to 24 hours. Cleaning staffs that provide a supply of disinfecting wipes for interim cleaning can encourage building occupants to take that extra step to kill germs.
Meanwhile, warm soap and water can kill surface bacteria too, but the cleaning tools in dishwasher-less office kitchens can be a problem.
In fact, a 1997 University of Arizona study of the mugs in one campus office found that bacterial counts on the cups was actually higher after they were wiped with the office dish towel than before.