The CDC’s FluView is a fascinating but sobering snapshot of influenza virus in the U.S. right now. Despite widespread vaccination and speedy diagnostic tests available today, the geographic spread of Influenza now shows 43 states and Puerto Rico experiencing widespread activity. In the fifth week of 2017, flu-like illnesses accounted for 4.7% of our nationwide outpatient visits, a trend far above the past nine years for February.
Norovirus isn’t treating us kindly, either. Already this year, several schools have had to close when the vicious virus infected an unusually high number of students, teachers and families. Spreading faster than gossip and arguably more nasty, norovirus is estimated to make up about half of all food-related illnesses. Foodborne norovirus is arguably as common as exposure through surfaces contaminated by a sick individual, and it requires a mere 5 to 15 viral particles to cause misery.
For hospitals, this surge in influenza and norovirus can create long ER waits, lack of bed availability, and an obvious strain on staff. Hospital staffers, often rumored to be more immune than the general workforce, are in fact demonstrably more at risk for poor health.
When you’re thinking about how to protect yourself, personal hygiene is the easiest first step. Frequent handwashing with soap (hand sanitizer alone may not be quite enough), avoiding people you know are sick, and getting good rest are all obvious steps, but we still often neglect them.
In hospitals using Xenex LightStrike™ Robots, treating areas as usual with LightStrike will kill Influenza virus and Norovirus. Adding in Lightstrike disinfection of waiting rooms, ER bathrooms, and other less-frequently disinfected zones may help limit its spread to other patients and to staff.
If you have any questions about the use of LightStrike’s Full Spectrum™ Pulsed Xenon™ UV to halt the spread of Influenza virus and Norovirus, please contact us at info.xenex.com. We’re always here to help!