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This Year Could Have the Most Active Flu Season Ever. Here’s a Couple of Different Ways to Stay Safe

Flu season is upon us and this year is shaping up to be one of the worst of the century so far. Several overlooked cross-contamination points such as keyboards, mice and touchscreens can be doing a lot to spread the virus. New preventative measures must be taken to promote public health. 

So, you’ve gotten your flu shot, frequently wash your hands and drink lots of water. Seems like you are as prepared for the flu season as you can possibly be, right? Wrong. There are actually several cross-contamination points in your life that are negating your hand hygiene almost as quickly as you can wash your hands.

Let’s take a step back. It’s worth mentioning, if you don’t already know, that the flu is incredibly contagious. It can be contracted in a variety of different ways, one of which is through touching a surface that has been contaminated with the flu virus and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

Keyboards and mice are often shared by multiple people. This happens in various offices and even in healthcare settings where there can be an abundance of contaminants. It’s been proven that keyboards and mice are some of the dirtiest items that can be found in an office, with even your office toilet being far cleaner on average. The fact of the matter is that with flu season among us there is even less room for error than usual.

A single sick employee can infect several colleagues as a result of sharing keyboards and mice. One of the best ways to prevent this is to make sure your keyboard and mice are being washed. We can stress handwashing as much as we want, but if you are washing your hands and then touching a dirty keyboard immediately after, you are instantly negating your efforts and putting yourself in harm’s way. The last thing an employer and an employee wants is for the entire office to get sick as a result of these cross-contamination points. The solution is for offices to provide employees with waterproof keyboards and washable mice so that they can be cleaned frequently and prevent sickness. 

Another major point of cross-contamination that people don’t realize are touch screen devices, namely in restaurants. The screens that you touch at McDonald’s to order your burger and fries are pretty convenient. However, throughout the year and especially during flu season, they’re actually a dangerous way in which germs are spread. Tens of millions of people are getting the flu annually in the United States. How many of these people do you think are touching those same screens you are? The same goes for any other touch screens that are used by multiple people. Convenience and efficiency are important, no doubt, but safety should not be compromised as a result. It’s paramount that every touch screen has a proper touchscreen protector that allows for the frequent use of disinfecting products. This is important throughout the year, but a complete must during flu season.

This is the year in which you can least afford to be ill-prepared for the flu season. It’s gotten off to an early and deadly start. With tens of thousands annual deaths, the flu must be taken seriously by all. Not to mention workplaces can often sideline several employees at the same time and costs the overall U.S. economy $7 billion a year in sick days and lost productivity. It behooves any employer to make sure that their employees are an in environment that is ideal for preventing sickness as opposed to spreading it and to make sure that their customers are given the same treatment.

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I work as a Content Writer for Seal Shield, an incredible Infection Solutions company based just thirty minutes from the university I graduated from.

I have the privilege of interviewing some brilliant scientists, engineers and doctors in the quest of identifying some of the most pressing issues that people face in healthcare. I specifically focus on how the emergence of mobile devices has had unexpected consequences and raised additional challenges in infection prevention.

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