4 Questions to Ask About Fall and Flu Season

Autumn is upon us. How do you notice fall is here? Is it the pumpkin-flavored coffees at your favorite café, sweaters on sale at the mall or the telltale sign of fall – changing leaves and cooler temperatures?

For many, fall brings the dreaded flu. There is still no concrete explanation as to why flu season happens when it does but there are theories. Researchers have found patterns in the survival of the virus in low and high humidity.

At low humidity (think indoors during winter season) viruses survive better because droplets evaporate and the virus can survive in dryer conditions. Additionally, in high humidity conditions (think rainy season in the tropics), the virus is exposed to high levels of chemicals in the fluid which is why the same affect happens in different environments. This may explain why in those two different environments viruses can spread.

Some attribute the increased chances of spreading the flu and germs to going back to school, holiday gatherings and more shopping or public exposure.

Here are four questions to ask yourself (whichever climate you live in) about your indoor environment, germ spread and the cleanliness of your home or office while you begin to spend more time indoors.

  1. What cleaning products do I use indoors?
    Improper cleaning products used in a closed space can decrease the air quality (compared to outdoors) by 500%.
  2. How do I feel when I spend more time indoors?
    Do you sneeze more, feel throat or nose irritation? You may be sensitive to indoor air pollutants. Remember, room ventilation can decrease (or increase) the amount of indoor pollutants that leak out from rooms and outside.
  3. How am I contributing to indoor air quality?
    Does your vacuum have a HEPA filter? Are the correct chemicals and procedures used to clean high traffic areas and small spaces? When was the last time your carpet was cleaned? All these aspects of a professional clean effect the quality of the air.
  4. Where is the most traffic?
    Imagine holiday parties, extra meetings during the last quarter of the business year and the like. More activity means more germ hot spots that are office culprits during the year. What is being done to reduce germ spread?

An average person spends 87% of their time indoors and that could increase during the chilly days when we’re indoors with a hot cup of cocoa. It’s good to be aware of how you and your coworkers feel, and to avoid flu-related pit falls that can lead to illness.

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