The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that the U.S. has experienced 21 consecutive weeks of elevated flu activity, making this the longest flu season in a decade.
According to Becker’s Clinical Leadership and Infection Control reports, the flu was still widespread in five states for the week ending April 20. Puerto Rico and 17 states reported regional flu activity; 19 states reported local flu activity; and Washington, D.C., and nine states reported sporadic activity.
The percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness decreased to 2.1 percent for the week ending April 20, marking the first time this figure falls below the national baseline since November 2018.
Illnesses such as the flu can result in lost productivity for businesses. According to the CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, U.S. employees miss approximately 17 million workdays due to the flu and contribute to $7 billion in lost productivity.
According to earlier reports on CleanLink, tactics that can help reduce the spread of flu in the workplace include:
• Demonstrate Proper Handwashing Techniques. Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of germs and infections. It’s good practice to routinely remind workers how to properly wash their hands and keep soap dispensers full in all restrooms and break rooms. Where soap and water is unavailable, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer throughout the day is one of the simplest ways to stop the spread of flu.
• Wipe Down Commonly Touched Areas. Commonly touched surfaces such counters, tables, door handles, kitchen equipment handles, keyboards/computer equipment and elevator buttons are breeding grounds for germs. Wipe down surfaces with eco-friendly cleansers designed to kill the flu virus. Keep antibacterial wipes in these areas so workers can wipe down surfaces after use.