Norovirus is a serious germ that can quickly wreak havoc on your office. Employees with a norovirus infection frequently are unable to work and may experience symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. In this article, we’ll discuss norovirus outbreaks and how Houston janitorial services can help protect people in your office.
Ramp Up Houston Janitorial Services to Prevent a Norovirus Outbreak
Norovirus infections can happen throughout the year, but typically peak in the winter months. This year, however, cases have been rising since January. Therefore, there is a higher risk than usual during this time of the year for your office to experience an outbreak.
Some believe that the increased number of norovirus cases are due to loosening COVID-19 restrictions and relaxing infection control protocols. Also, more and more people are returning to school and the office. These are two common areas for norovirus outbreaks. So, more people may be coming into contact with the virus.
Because of these risks, many offices are taking a closer look at their cleaning programs and increasing the frequency of Houston janitorial services. This can certainly help reduce some of the risks of a norovirus outbreak spreading through your office.
What is Norovirus?
So, what exactly is norovirus? Chances are, you’ve probably had a norovirus infection at one point or another in your life. A norovirus infection is also commonly called the stomach flu, though it has nothing to do with influenza. The virus infects the body and causes inflammation in the intestines, which can cause seriously uncomfortable symptoms like nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Thousands of Americans each year contract norovirus, and it kills hundreds each year. Some people most at risk for serious effects from norovirus include young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.
While an infection typically starts with eating or coming in contact with contaminated food, many outbreaks aren’t foodborne. This means that other people become infected through other ways, typically by picking up the virus on contaminated surfaces.
Why You Need Extra Houston Janitorial Services to Protect Against Norovirus
There are many ways to prevent a norovirus outbreak. More frequent Houston office cleaning may help reduce the risks of an outbreak in your workplace. There are several reasons you may need more in-depth and more frequent cleaning as norovirus cases in the U.S. continue to rise.
Norovirus is Highly Contagious
Norovirus is incredibly contagious. Even a small number of the virus on a surface can easily contaminate the entire office and cause many people to become ill. If you’ve ever had the stomach flu, you probably already know how quickly it can spread. Often the entire household will have symptoms within days of each other. Because of how contagious this virus is, it is a huge risk in spaces where people are together, such as offices and schools.
One study found that viruses like norovirus can spread through an office like wildfire. Researchers tested how quickly it can spread through an office by contaminating a few surfaces in an office with a harmless virus that is a similar size and shape to norovirus. They found that within just a few hours, 40% to 60% of workers’ hands were contaminated, along with many other surfaces in the office. However, the good news was that when the offices used disinfectants on high touch surfaces at the end of each day, it reduced the spread of the virus by 80% to 99%. Therefore, Houston janitorial services may be essential in keeping norovirus at bay.
Norovirus Can Live a Long Time on Surfaces
In addition to being highly contagious, norovirus also lives quite a long time compared to many other viruses. This means that the virus can keep infecting people for days and weeks after landing on a surface. Norovirus can live up to 28 days on hard surfaces like wood and metal. That means most of the surfaces in your office can be a safe haven for norovirus. However, quality Houston janitorial services can help remove and kill the virus to help break a cycle of illness during a norovirus outbreak in your office.
An Office Norovirus Outbreak can Cause a Spike in Absenteeism and Poor Productivity
Unfortunately, norovirus can have a huge impact on not only your employees’ wellbeing, but also your company’s bottom line. Norovirus illnesses cost companies millions each year in lost productivity. One sick person in the office can lead to large numbers of absenteeism as people become ill. Therefore, the cost of more frequent Houston janitorial services is often much lower than the cost of rampant absenteeism due to a workforce with the stomach flu.
How Houston Janitorial Services Help Kill Norovirus
Unfortunately, norovirus can be difficult to kill. It is an incredibly resilient germ, which you may have guessed from its ability to live for nearly a month on hard surfaces. However, professional Houston commercial cleaning services
can help kill and remove the virus from surfaces that may infect your team. Cleaning helps remove many germs from surfaces throughout your office, while disinfection services help kill germs so they’re no longer contagious.
It’s Essential to Use the Right Disinfectants for Houston Office Cleaning During Norovirus Outbreaks
One thing many people don’t realize is that norovirus can be hard to kill with disinfectants. In fact, many disinfectants aren’t effective at killing norovirus. For instance, alcohol-based cleaners generally do not fight norovirus effectively.
Therefore, it’s important to choose a Houston janitorial services team that knows the right protocols for preventing norovirus. This involves using disinfectants that are proven effective against norovirus. If you’re concerned about norovirus in your office, our team uses EPA-approved List G disinfectants that work well for norovirus.
Other Strategies to Help Keep Your Team Healthy
Of course, investing in Houston janitorial services isn’t the only way you can prevent norovirus outbreaks. There are some other things you can do that may help prevent the spread of stomach flu through the office.
Educate Staff About Handwashing
As we mentioned, many cases of norovirus are from contaminated surfaces. When a person touches, say, a pen contaminated with norovirus, they may become infected by touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. Therefore, it helps to educate and remind your employees about proper handwashing to help prevent a norovirus outbreak. This may include posting signs as reminders to wash hands after using the restroom and before touching food (like in the break room). Also, keep in mind that because alcohol isn’t very effective against norovirus, hand sanitizer isn’t a good alternative to washing hands with soap and water. Make sure your employees know this as well so they can help protect themselves against norovirus.
Encourage Sick Employees to Stay Home
Also, because norovirus is highly contagious, you should encourage people to stay home when sick. People with stomach flu can be contagious not only while they’re sick, but also for two to three days after their symptoms end. So, try recommending that employees stay home until they have been better for a few days.
Houston Janitorial Services from Accredited Building Services
Our team at Accredited Building Services is dedicated to helping keep your building safe, sanitary, and professional through top quality janitorial services. We go the extra mile so you have peace of mind your office, school, bank, or industrial plant is clean and germ-free. We’ve been providing superior commercial cleaning services throughout Greater Houston and Beaumont since 1980. As a locally owned and operated company, we accept nothing less than your complete satisfaction. See the Accredited difference for yourself — contact us now to get a free quote for our janitorial services.