Protect Yourself from the Cold and Flu: A Winter Survival Guide

Protect Yourself from the Cold and Flu: A Winter Survival Guide

Tissues. Cough syrup. Nasal Decongestant.

What if you could beat winter woes without a trip to the pharmacy? It’s true, the cold temperatures are here, and flu season is in full swing. However, there are smart ways to get rid of those nasty bugs inhabiting your office, school, or business.

The fact is, cleaning experts and hospital clinicians are doubly exposed to germs. Yet on average, we’re sick less frequently than you, your family, and office staffers combined. What gives?

Here’s what the pros know about immunity fighting fixes. Because the only things you want to catch this season are healthy profits and happy kids.

Headsets and Ear Buds

Don’t share them if possible. These bacterial hot beds lock in hair fibers and sweat. In fact, after one hour of use germs can increase 700 times.

What to do: Wipe them down weekly with an alcohol-based swab. If you have detachable silicone sleeves, remove and soak in lukewarm, soapy water for up to five minutes.  


Laptops and iPads

Your laptop or keyboard is 20,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. And you’re swiping, tapping, hitting, and resting your fingertips on these surfaces daily.

What to do: Shake your device, very gently, loosening any food deposits and skin cells. Use an air dispenser, available in most office supply stores, and spray the keys. Wipe down fingerprints with a microfiber smart cloth.     


Coffee Stations and Water Coolers

While your cleaning crew will disinfect door handles, countertops, and garbage cans, it’s also best to opt for disposable, environmentally friendly paper cups. A study by Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a microbiologist from the University of Arizona found that “20 percent of office cups [mugs] contain coliform bacteria, which is related to fecal contamination.”

What to do: Wash your hands after visiting the bathroom. The trick is to scrub them dislodging organisms from the surface. Do this for a recommended 40 to 45 seconds for proper cleansing. Apply hand sanitizer throughout the day to decrease chances of picking up microbes.   


Nutrition in the Kitchen

Employees struggle with poor eating habits when confined to the office according to a recent survey. A reported 44 percent of workers grab healthier options, more so, when working from home.

What to do: To prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses, make room in the budget for anti-inflammatory food and beverages. Some of the most potent options include yogurt, dark chocolate, ginseng and green teas, apples, and green vegetables.       

Wondering how long common germs can survive on your surfaces?

  • Cold virus: usually no longer than 24 hours.
  • Flu virus: remains on hard surfaces for 24 hours.
  • Stomach virus: Salmonella can live for 1-4 hours. Norovirus can live up to two weeks.


Stop the Sniffles for Good. Make a D.I.Y. Disinfectant.

Disinfecting should always proceed cleaning. An easy way to remember this is ‘C’ before ‘D’ – Cleaning before Disinfecting. A concentrated sanitizer stops 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on hard and non-porous surfaces. Your dust rag or sponge, alone, can’t do that.


These fixes instead of a trip to the doctor or pharmacist make for a “clean” bill of health. Even Old Man Winter can’t compete with that.

Be sure to ask us about other effective ways to keep your home, workplace, and neighborhood schools germ-free. And for more sweeping incentives, learn about our monthly inspection plans and extended services.


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