If this winter will be anything like last year, the majority of the country should be preparing for a long, cold, snowy winter. (Great for shovel sales, bad for us.)As you would expect, being cooped up indoors for months on end with the heat blasting creates a perfect environment for germs to shack up with their unwilling hosts. While the CDC jury is still out on the severity of this year’s flu season, it’s always better to prepare for the worst, especially considering we may be in for a rough season overall.
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In the sales and distribution industry, the sales force is especially susceptible to increased contact with viruses. In addition to protecting yourselves from getting sick, you are also tasked with the job of ensuring that your customers, and their customers are protected as well.
The following guidelines from the online health experts at WebMD should be considered necessities in your arsenal of tools against colds and flu.
Creating a Barrier Against Germs
“You can pick up the flu virus from touching a surface — like the restaurant table where a sick person dined before you. Flu germs can linger on surfaces for up to eight hours.
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When you touch a contaminated surface and then put your hands on your eyes, nose, or mouth, your fingers transport the germs straight into your body.
You can try to avoid sick people, but that’s not always easy to do, especially when you’re in close quarters like movie theaters and malls. If you can’t steer clear of the virus, at least use good hygiene to create a barrier against flu germs.” - WebMD
Preparing Your Cold and Flu Toolkit
Per advice shared by WebMD, we’ve shared our recommendations to help you build an arsenal to fight the flu this season:
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap every time you shake hands or touch a surface that might be germ-covered. A great antibacterial soap, such as Advantage TidyBac Foaming Soap is cost-effective, and effective in protecting yourself and others.
- Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you for times when a sink isn’t available. Purell Hand Sanitizer from GOJO is a tried and true go-to for pocket sanitizers, as well as for dispensers in institutional use.
- Bring along disinfectant wipes to clean any surfaces you’re about to touch. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes work wonders, and smell great too. And, they are effective in killing cold and flu viruses, along with spray versions from Lysol.
- Take extra care to not touch your mouth, eyes, or nose without washing your hands first. Have plenty of tissues on hand, such as Decor Facial Tissues from Cascades, so that you can blow your nose, dry your eyes, or cover your cough- and always, always wash your hands immediately!
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Other Cold and Flu Season Resources
Some other handy resources will be very useful in assisting your customers with preparedness. From checklists, to posters, to websites, you will be the expert there to navigate them through the treacherous perils of debilitating viruses!
- CDC 2013-2014 Flu Season Forecast and FAQ
- CDC “Everyday Flu Prevention” PDF guide to flu prevention for employees
- Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist PDF for employers
- “Flu View” Mobile App for tracking flu activity
- Various CDC print materials for Flu education
- “Don’t Get, Don’t Spread” CDC podcast- 1:25 running time
- RJ Schinner’s Vendor Literature page where you’ll find sell sheets and brochures for all of the best flu preventing products you need to fight flu and colds this season
And, last but not least, make sure you get your flu shot! A vaccine is the best protection against the flu, especially in those at higher risk of complications. To find a flu shot provider near you, visit Health Map, where you can easily enter your zip code and locate the nearest facility offering vaccines.