Wintertime can remind us of many things such as the holiday season, cold weather, snow days, indoor activities, and getting sick. In the United States, flu season can begin as early as October usually not getting into full swing until December, peaking in February and ending around March. The seasonal flu or “Influenza” is a viral respiratory illness. The name comes from a reference to its original Italian name, influenza di freddo, which means “influence of the cold”. The majority of healthy people who get the flu will have a mild illness. They may not need medical care or antiviral drugs and they will recover in about two weeks. The flu is most dangerous for children, the elderly, and immunocompromised people. This group is more likely to get flu complications that can result in hospitalization and sometimes death. Flu is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Each flu season comes with a large burden on school systems for the health and well-being of children.

Why is the Flu rampant in the winter?

The flu virus lives longer in the winter because the air is less humid than outside. Low temperatures and drier air allow for the virus to thrive longer on surfaces and in the air. While it is alive and in the air the virus can easily be inhaled or land on people and other surfaces. Another reason that the flu is more prevalent in the winter is that we spend more time indoors and have closer contact with other people thus, making it easier for the virus to spread.

Schools are a breeding ground for the flu virus since students, staff, and teachers are in close proximity to each other most of the day every day. “A 1982 study found influenza A remained contagious up to 48 hours on hard plastic or stainless steel, while a 2008 publication found these viruses stayed infectious for up to three days on Swiss bank notes.” It is now believed that the virus does not last that long depending on the surface material.

Preventative Measures in Schools …

Teachers and staff are required to get the flu shot. Handwashing, using sanitizer, and covering coughs are all encouraged means to reduce the spread of the flu. Another more effective flu preventative measure for schools: hiring professional commercial and school cleaning services. Keeping professional school cleaning services on hand to disinfect and clean all flu season long is the best way to reduce flu outbreaks.

A clean school is important for the students’ and staff’s health and well-being. A clean school improves the indoor environmental quality or IEQ, which reduces the spread of infectious illnesses, asthma attacks, and allergies. A clean and well sanitized school makes for overall better attendance rates and, arguably, better test scores.

Commercial Business Maintenance of Maryland works together with public and private schools as part of their comprehensive cleaning program to keep Maryland’s schools safe, clean, sanitized, and disinfected. If your school, education facility, or buildings need cleaning and janitorial services, contact CBM today to schedule a free estimate.