Flu Season is upon us and protecting yourself against contracting a cold or the flu is a high priority this time of year. From consistent hand-washing, to guzzling vitamin C, most of us do whatever we can to prevent ourselves from contracting the influenza virus. As multi-family industry professionals, we should consider the action items and steps that we can personally take to protect ourselves and others in the community. Below we will discuss some statistics of flu season, steps to take personally and professionally to prevent contraction and spreading of the flu virus, and ideas you can take to implement prevention.
Statistics on flu and cold season
Each year, cold and flu season is responsible for 44 million “sick-days” in the United States called, in by 11 million employed adults spread throughout the country. This statistically accounts for about a $9.5 billion-dollar financial burden on businesses, and even considers that 39% of the workforce will still report to work even when ill. Aside from work being the 3rd most likely place for individuals who have the cold or flu virus to frequent, according to the CDC, other locations that are highly frequented by sick individuals include local drug stores and grocery stores.
Where germs live
The flu and common cold are most contagious during the early onset. Unfortunately, this is also when people still may not realize there is anything wrong. They still feel well enough to go out in public and therefore can spread the virus without realizing the severity. As multi-family industry professionals, we work and operate where “home” is for many of these 11 million adults who do call in sick. This increases our exposure to their germs even when the resident opts to stay home to avoid spreading the virus. Since our place of work is their home, we must take extra caution to avoid getting sick. Below are some common places to consider taking extra precaution around when trying to avoid contracting the flu and common cold:
- Building entryways- including elevator buttons, handrails in stairwells and access points, door handles to common spaces in a community.
- Public restrooms in the gym or other common areas
- Hospitality and snack areas, such as a coffee bar or resident appreciation event gathering
- Common areas such as the local game room/tv lounge, business center, or conference room
- On-site fitness centers, weight rooms, or spin/yoga studios
How to protect your community
As multi-family professionals, we have a responsibility to create an atmosphere of safety and cleanliness when possible. Though we can’t guarantee the effectiveness of our efforts, it is part of our responsibility. There are a few recommendations that property teams can do to help protect the visitors and dwellers of a community, and by directly making a few adjustments on-site during this time of year:
- Supply paper towels instead of air dryers in common area restrooms to help reduce the number of bacteria left on hands after washing thoroughly with soap and water.
- Install hand sanitizer stations at entrances, stairwells, common areas, and restrooms to make sanitation easier for residents and team members on the go.
- Make microfiber cleaning cloths and sanitation wipes available to staff members so they can wipe down surfaces regularly with minimal additional effort.
In addition to the above recommendations, there are also other easy and fun ways to communicate and educate residents about flu season’s best practices. They may even create a heightened sense of resident satisfaction as you demonstrate your commitment to their community. Here are some ideas that may help spice up flu-prevention at your property:
- Host a pre-flu season event. Invite a local flu-shot vendor or offer flu-shot passes with an incentive to residents. The incentive can be small and often stores will partner and provide a “perk” to those residents that show up and get the shot! Think a discount on “Emergen-C” or “Airborne”.
- Include education in the monthly news letter for residents to read prior to the start of flu season. You could even announce the above pre-flu season event in the publication at the same time.
- Have resident care packages in the office or distribute them in an appropriate fashion for your specific community. Vendor partners and Buyers Access team members can offer great ideas and resources to do this if you have a tight resident-appreciation budget to work with.
What to do if you get sick
Even taking all the right preventative steps, you can sometimes still wind up sick. Once contracting a virus, it’s time to look at measures that can be taken to protect yourself and others while it runs its course. Remember, the flu virus is stronger in the beginning stages and can spread easier during this time. Staying home from work may be a good idea to have minimal contact with others. If you must report to work or engage in regular activities on some level, follow the below recommendations to protect yourself and others from getting sick.
- Wash your hands
- Invest in a protective dust-mask to wear outside of your individual space to avoid airborne germs from spreading
- Wipe down everything you touch with an antibacterial spray or wipe and allow it to dry naturally so it has ample time to kill bacteria and germs.
- Drink plenty of fluid and use paper cups or personal drinkware that won’t be washed and re-used in the office or public area.
- Rest more than you think you need to. Your immune system is already weakened substantially once you do get sick so this extra TLC can speed up recovery. If you reported to work and start to feel worse, re-evaluate your attendance and communicate any concerns to your workplace supervisor.
Getting sick is no fun and nobody ever wants to get sick. It’s important to remember the seriousness of the flu virus and consider that even mild strains can cause serious complications. Spreading bouts of sickness around the office or community can be decreased by following some of the above suggestions and preparing for the flu season accordingly. Buyers Access, and our supplier partners, are always available to help equip your team with the supplies needed to create an uninviting environment for germs associated with the flu virus and other bacteria. One of the best parts about being a part of the Buyers Access program is that you have an abundance of additional resources and extra sets of hands to call on when you need them. Contact our sales department at BASales@buyersaccess.com to get this support. If you are already a member, your account manager and the member services team can quickly help you get prepared by sourcing the best products and lower prices with additional savings on mass quantities when needed. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reach out to your team of support and make your property safe this flu season!