For small businesses, the flu season can be especially crippling. Imagine your small company has five employees and two or more of them call in sick because of the flu. The impact is going to be immediate. So, the fact 60% of Americans say they worry about contracting the flu, highlights the problem.
This data comes from Bradley’s 2020 Healthy Hand Washing Survey. It is an annual survey that asks respondents their view on germs, the flu, colds and handwashing habit.
This year’s survey is especially relevant because of the Coronavirus (CoV) currently spreading from China out to the rest of the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the CoV is part of a large family of viruses responsible for causing everything from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
The current outbreak (novel coronavirus (nCoV)) is a new strain previously not identified in humans. Although the virus is currently affecting the elderly, young children and those with underlying health conditions more severely, it poses a danger to everyone.
As with the results from the Bradley survey, hand washing is one of the best ways to keep the coronavirus and many other viruses at bay. The WHO recommends people to frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub. You can read the rest of the recommendations from the WHO here.
In the report for the survey, Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley Corp, shares the same sentiment.
Dommisse says, “Americans are increasingly employing defense mechanisms against sickness. During the cold and flu season – and year-round – everyday preventive measures like handwashing with soap and water can help stop germs in their tracks.”
The 2020 survey polled 1,005 people across four generations: Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers. The groups were split into 53% women and 47% men.
According to the survey, when there is a flu outbreak Americans say they are more conscientious about handwashing when they’re out. Close to 80% of them say they wash their hands more frequently, more thoroughly or longer after using a public restroom.
When it comes to cleaning their hands (soap and water or hand sanitizer) 64% of Americans believe they have fewer germs after washing. But an almost equal number (67%) are just rinsing their hands with only water. You might argue rinsing is better than nothing, however, using soap is essential to thoroughly clean your hands. This is especially the case when it comes to viruses.
Another data point reveals hand washing doesn’t happen all the time after using a public restroom, even though 97% believe it’s important to wash up. And it is a generational thing. While 82% of GenZ wash their hands consistently, it goes all the way up to 91% for baby boomers. Millennials and Generation X are in the middle with both coming in at 85%.
What About Avoiding Getting Sick
Whether it is a family remedy or a prescription, everyone seems to have their own version of what works for them when it comes to avoiding the dreaded Flu virus.
In the survey, 55% of the respondents say they drink more fluids, while 50% added vitamin C or zinc supplement to the mix. The rest of the responses include avoid touching face, mouth, and nose (43%); getting more sleep (42%); spraying the air with disinfectant (36%); staying home as much as possible (34%).
Keeping Your Place of Work Clean
Keeping your business clean is one of the best ways to stop any outbreaks from spreading. During the flu season make more of an effort to clean at least twice a day.
When you do clean use quality disinfectant or bleach with the right ratio to ensure it is doing the job. Wipe down door handles, railings, countertops, restrooms and anywhere customers are continuously touching.
If one of your employees is under the weather, it is best to give them the time off instead of making everyone sick. If your business happens to be in an area that is prone to flu outbreaks, stay informed, increase employee awareness about symptoms and set up a flu shot drive together with all the businesses around you.
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Vaccines play a role as well. It helps if you also get vaccinated for flu.