Flu Still Continues To Threaten

Just one month ago, news outlets were flooded with reports of school closings due to widespread flu outbreaks. Cleaning crews were busy disinfecting surfaces and promoting healthy handwashing habits.

But today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) most recent FluView report for the week ending March 17 shows that flu activity is actually down for the fourth week in a row. According to Becker’s Hospital Review reports, the percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-related illness was 2.7 percent, which is a 1 percent decline from the prior week. But, this figure remains above the 2.2 percent national baseline.

Officials warn that although numbers have dropped, flu season is not quite over. According to NBC’s TMJ4 reporting, flu season can last well into May and facilities are encouraged to promote healthy hand hygiene and continue appropriate cleaning initiatives.

There are basic things employers can do to keep contamination at bay and help protect employees’ health. It’s important to wipe down high touch areas — including break room surfaces, conference room tables and chairs, doorknobs, restroom fixtures, light switches and shared tools — with disinfecting wipes at least once a day.

Also, office managers should make sure everyone has flu-fighting supplies at their desk: tissues, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, at a minimum.

According to Becker’s, 17 states are still reporting widespread flu activity. Twenty six states, Puerto Rico and Guam reported regional flu activity; five states and Washington, D.C., reported local flu activity; and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii and Vermont reported sporadic flu activity.