The Deadly Impact of Flu Season
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The Deadly Impact of Flu Season

17 Dec The Deadly Impact of Flu Season

NORTHBROOK, ILL. — The 2019-2020 flu season started early this year, promising one of the deadliest seasons in recent years.  

“The flu has already killed as many as 2,400 people this season in the United States,” said Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, BVSc, MSc, MPH, MRCVS, a board member and infectious disease expert instructor with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of ISSA. Dr. Macgregor-Skinner has worked with U.S. and international governments globally to prepare and respond to infection control issues, such as those that involve influenza. Most recently, he was involved in training a group of Reuters journalists at ISSA headquarters.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has this information on its website: “While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.”  

This year marks the earliest start to concerning widespread flu outbreaks in more than 15 years, according to Dr. Macgregor-Skinner. “The CDC has indicated that as many as 2.5 million people have been infected. With the earliest start to flu season in more than 15 years, we need to be proactive in our approach to protecting people.” 

Dr. Macgregor-Skinner warns cleaning professionals of their responsibility to those in their care. “They need to be aware of the ISSA perspective on what a ‘deep clean’ really is,” he said. “A simple wiping down of surfaces in schools, for example, is just not enough.” 

He points cleaning professionals to the ISSA Clean Standards. There are two available, one for K-12 facilities, and another for institutional and commercial facilities. Both can be accessed on the ISSA Clean Standards website. The Standards are available at no cost to members of ISSA. Use this link to become a member so you can access the standards. 

Cleaning professionals can keep up-to-date on flu activity by monitoring weekly flu activity with the U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report. Recently, it had an interesting highlighted warning: “Seasonal influenza activity in the United States has been elevated for five weeks and continues to increase.”  

GBAC has specialized training workshops available for educational facilities, institutions, and commercial buildings, concentrating on deep cleaning and infection control. Contact GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger for details at pattyo@issa.com