Outsourcing your stadium’s janitorial services is a cost-effective method for reducing the spread of the flu virus during football season.
Janitorial Services Help Fight the Flu During Football Season
This year has been a really bad year for flu infections, especially the H3N2 virus.
According to a recent article published by ABC Eyewitness News;
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu blanketed the U.S. again last week for the third straight week.
Last week, 1 in 15 doctor visits were for symptoms of the flu.
That’s the highest level since the swine flu pandemic in 2009.
Given football season and the flu season overlap significantly, combined with the close-quarters of stadium sporting events, as well as the consumption of food and beverages throughout the game, the likelihood of a deadly strain of influenza rapidly spreading among football fans is not only extremely likely, it’s a potential public health concern at games with very high attendance numbers.
Influenza is most commonly spread by ingestion–touching an infected surface or person, and then eating with unwashed hands, an unfortunately common event.
According to research conducted by the American Society for Microbiology;
In the most recent of ASM’s periodic surveys of handwashing behavior among the public, 91% of American adults said they always wash their hands after using public restrooms.
But just 83% actually did so, according to a separate observational study.
Much poorer habits were revealed as fewer indicated they always washed their hands after petting a dog or cat (42%), after handling money (21%), and, most shockingly, after coughing or sneezing (32%).
Complicating matters is the aerosolization of the virus–higher concentrations are found in droplets expelled as a result of breathing or talking than coughing or sneezing, so avoiding the person with a visible cough or a runny nose isn’t going to help.
Strategies for Reducing Flu Exposure at Football Games and Other Sporting Events
Given the lack of hand-hygiene, the sheer number of people, and the voracity of the H3N2 virus, an infection seems almost impossible to avoid.
Fortunately, there are several steps that stadium facilities managers and sports fans can employ to protect themselves and everyone around them.
Tips for Stadium Facilities Managers
Once the fans begin arriving, maintaining cleanliness throughout the entire stadium is not going to be possible.
However, focusing on the following areas can significantly reduce the instance of the flu virus on high-contact surfaces.
The first area is the bathroom.
- Thoroughly clean and sanitize the restroom top to bottom before guests arrive.
- Use color-coded microfiber, the two-bucket cleaning method, and a category IV disinfectant (Silver Dihydrogen Citrate) to provide residual efficacy.
- Use foaming soap to reduce water use and improve hand-hygiene.
- Ensure there are plenty of paper towels throughout the day, and that the trashcan is emptied regularly.
The second area is the concession stands.
- Make sure workers follow safe food handling practices and keep their hands clean while serving food.
- Make sure the food handlers are not handling customer money.
- Wipe the concession stand down at regular intervals throughout the day with biodegradable, certified green disinfecting wipes.
- Make liquid hand sanitizer available and conveniently accessible for workers and fans.
Tips for Sports Fans
Fans should keep several things in mind when attending sporting events.
- Wash your hands before eating.
- Bring a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer, or purchase one from a concession stand, and use liberally after coming into contact with other people, or after washing your hands in the bathroom to reduce the probability of transferring germs from your hands to your eyes or mouth.
- If you’re sick and you know it, stay home. You could be placing someone’s life in danger, specifically young children and the elderly.
With the big game coming up, fans will be flocking to the stadium and local sports bars.
Please keep in mind that, especially this year, the flu virus has led to numerous hospitalizations and deaths.
Compounding the challenge is the ineffectiveness of the flu vaccine against the H3N2 strain.
If you’re a fan, do your part and wash your hands.
If you’re a stadium facility or concession manager, keep your spaces clean and follow safe handling practices.
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