Cold and Flu Season Is Upon Us; Fight Back
It’s that time of the year again…
We are not talking about tax season, but peak Cold and Flu season.
Flu season is an annually recurring period of time characterized by outbreaks of influenza. The season occurs during the cold half of the year in each hemisphere, late fall to early spring in the United States. And we are right smack in the middle of it.
Influenza can sometimes be predicted and tracked geographically. While the beginning of major flu activity in each season varies, in any specific location these epidemics usually take about 3 weeks to peak and another 3 weeks to diminish. Three virus families, Influenzavirus A, B, and C are the main infective agents that cause influenza. During periods of cooler temperature, influenza cases increase roughly tenfold or more.
Despite higher incidence of manifestations of the flu during the season, the viruses are actually transmitted throughout populations all year round!
Why is there a Cold and Flu Season?
It’s hard to say exactly what causes a “season” of influenza, but there are many proposed explanations. The combination of all of these make it a tough battle to fight.
- When it is cold outside, people spend more time inside. They are in closer contact, and this promotes the spreading of colds and viruses.
- Colder temperatures and dry air go hand in hand. Dry air can dehydrate mucous membranes, making it harder for your body to defend against viral infections.
- If it’s overcast, as often happens in a colder season, there is a decrease in ultraviolet rays. Your body will produce less Vitamin D, which can affect the immune system.
- A decrease in Ultraviolet radiation could also reduce the likelihood of a virus being damaged/killed by direct exposure.
- The virus lingers longer on exposed surfaces in colder temperatures. (e.g., doorknobs, counter-tops, keyboards, phones etc…)
Fighting Back against the Cold and Flu Season
So, what can be done? The above seems like a perfect storm in favor of Influenza.
Get a Flu shot
Flu shots have been shown to reduce the likelihood of contracting the Influenza virus. The CDC says this is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
Stop the Spread of Germs
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Cover your nose/mouth when you sneeze or cough.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water (Advantage TidyBac Foaming Soap is a good bet), or use alcohol-based hand rub. (like GoJo Purell Hand Sanitizer)
- Clean and Disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with germs. (Clorox Disinfecting Wipes work wonders)
Take Care of Yourself if you do get Sick.
If you are sick, stay home and limit your contact with others! The less people you interact with while you are contagious means there are less people to spread the flu to. Also, do see a doctor or other health care professional, and follow his/her instructions!
How to Clean & Disinfect to Slow the Spread of Flu
Cleaning removes germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning uses soap/detergent and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. Cleaning lowers the risk by reducing the number of germs on a surface. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. This process uses chemicals (other than soap/detergent and water) to kill all germs and bacteria. Disinfecting also lowers the risk of spreading infection.
Both individually will help the spread of the Influenza virus, but cleaning and then disinfecting can be even more effective.
Choose the Right Product
Use products with EPA-approved efficacy claims against the Flu virus. The EPA regulates and approves products before they’re allowed on the US market. It will look into the chemistry of a formulation, how the product performs, and its immediate health effects before it is approved. An EPA registration number tells you that the product has demonstrated it should not cause adverse effects on your health or the environment, and the product will do what it claims, when used according to label instructions.
Clorox Professional Products has released a customer letter which speaks to facts about the flu, and the current vaccine. It lists specifically the 19 Professional Products with efficacy claims against Influenza viruses.
- Click here for a complete list of products approved by the EPA for Influenza A virus.
- RJ Schinner’s Vendor Literature page where you’ll find sell sheets and brochures for all of the best flu preventing products you need to fight flu and colds this season
- “Flu View” Mobile App for tracking flu activity