DSRs and salespeople in general are especially susceptible to getting sick, as are their customers. When you consider all of the handshaking, surface-touching and traveling that occurs on a daily basis, the likelihood of contact with flu-infected people as well as the odds of passing it on are quite high compared to the average person. This is of most concern throughout the winter season, and this year in particular as the US faces the highest incidences of flu in recent history.
According to an article on USNews.com, “CDC data shows this year’s flu has struck early and often. Doctor visits for flu-like symptoms are well above the baseline, and if current trends continue, could soon eclipse the previous highs, including the 2009 swine flu pandemic.” This brief fact list is intended to educate you on the flu, and guide you through important steps to protect you and your customers throughout this epidemic.
128 million doses of the flu vaccine have been administered this month, which constitutes 95 percent of the estimated 135 million doses manufacturers planned to make this year.
1. If you haven’t already, get your flu shot! Obviously, the first and most important step in flu prevention is to get vaccinated. Whether it’s from your family doctor, or any local clinic or pharmacy, a little poke goes a long way. While vaccines alone do not guarantee prevention, they help- according to an article on CBS New York‘s website,
“There’s a new flu vaccine each year, based on the best guess of what flu viruses will be strongest that year. This year’s vaccine is well-matched to what’s going around….But the vaccine isn’t foolproof, and even those who were vaccinated can still get sick. At best, the vaccine may be only 75 percent effective in younger people and even less so in the elderly and people with weak immune systems.”
You can locate flu vaccines in your area from this website- just enter your zip code, and you’re on your way to a healthy dose of prevention. You might even get a fun band-aid to heal your wound.
2. Be paranoid, and wash your hands more often! Any contact with public surfaces, doors, people, money, or your own mouth, nose, or eyes should be reason to immediately wash your hands. All it takes is one brief contact with something as innocent as a pen at the bank (just used by a lady who blew her nose and didn’t wash her hands) and next thing you know, your sandwich at lunch will be laced with the flu virus.
This is the time of year to be paranoid- embrace your inner hypochondriac, because as they say, better safe than sorry. Carry Purell with you whenever possible, and for your customers, encourage the use of antibacterial soap such as SoftSoap orAdvantage, and recommend installing hand sanitizer dispensers if they don’t already have them. Purell dispensers mount easily to the wall, and are touch-free, killing 99.9% of germs instantly (and conveniently). You do a lot with your hands, and spreading germs should not be one of them.
A sneeze travels at about 100 miles an hour- meaning germs travel faster than a hungry cheetah.
3. Keep sneezes and coughs contained! It used to be acceptable to sneeze into your hands- and while it’s preferred to sneezing or coughing into someone’s face, it’s a wiser move to use your elbow, or a tissue/napkin/toilet paper. Since a single sneeze sends upwards of 100,000 germs into the air at over 100 miles an hour, doing something to contain the blast of infection from others is not only polite, it’s critical in preventing the flu from becoming a pandemic.
Paseo Facial Tissues as well as Nova or Vintage facial tissues offer nasal comfort and a great blockade for germs, and should be stored in your car, at your desk, and in the restroom (ideally, close to the hand sanitizer). Your customers should also have facial tissues strategically placed throughout their workplaces as well, ensuring healthier employees, healthier customers, and an overall healthier economy. As an added precaution, the CDC also recommends wearing a ever-so-stylish surgical mask if you’re sick and need to venture out in public- while exactly not popular in the US, it does wonders for protecting others.
4. If you’re sick, avoid human contact- please! It may be difficult to sacrifice money for your health, but more rest means faster recovery time. A person infected with the flu can share the illness with others a full day before showing symptoms, and up to four days after symptoms subside, so even if you’re just beginning to get sick, avoid others and tend to yourself. If your symptoms are especially bad, and include a fever of 100 degrees or higher, a cough, runny nose, body aches and fatigue, STAY HOME! This year’s severe strain of H3N2 is especially hard on the youth, pregnant women and the elderly, and when you consider that 24,000 deaths occur in America alone each year due to the flu, you’re doing everyone a favor by keeping your germs to yourself. You can share your knowledge and you can share your wealth, but please don’t share your illness.
Imagine how quickly germs add up on all of your daily surfaces.
5. Keep common areas clean by disinfecting often! You cannot control the cleanliness of every establishment you visit or sell to, but you can recommend ways to clean and disinfect that will do wonders to prevent the spread of the flu. Most businesses should at minimum take care of the obvious places like door handles, food surfaces, restrooms and counter tops. What often goes overlooked are surfaces such as backs of chairs which must be pulled out before sitting down to eat, the interior of your car (especially the steering wheel), computer keyboards which are touched all day and harbor loads of germs, phone handsets, desktops, microwave/stove/refrigerator handles…the list goes on. Just imagine everything you touch in a day, and then imagine a public venue where hundreds of people touch the same surfaces, and you can quickly see how germs spread.
Whether it’s a restaurant, grocery store, hotel, industrial facility, or office, you as well as your customers have high traffic areas that need frequent disinfecting this time of year. The convenience of wipes from Chicopee, Claire, Clorox or Lysol are easy-to-use and have very high kill rates. All-purpose cleaners such as Lysol spray also work well as a multipurpose disinfectant for a variety of surfaces, as does Spray-Nine disinfectant cleaner.
Our Literature by Vendor page has several brochures available for customized markets, enabling you to sell to specific market segments easily and efficiently- however you disinfect, do it frequently, as germs left on surfaces can survive for up to 48 hours! Remember when you sneezed in your car yesterday? The germs are still there… waiting for you. Get cleaning, and prevent the spread of illness!
If you follow and enforce these 5 survival tips, you and your customers will have better odds of making it through this flu season without a hitch.