Find out what your commercial cleaning company can do to protect your clients from diseases caused by uncleanliness.
While you might think of hygiene-related sickness as something from the Middle Ages, there is an extensive list of modern diseases caused by uncleanliness. It’s true you would be hard-pressed to find conditions such as leprosy or the bubonic plague today, but less devastating diseases still circulate.
Thanks to science, we can treat many of our current diseases caused by uncleanliness with antibiotics. Still, they can be annoying. And some of them do, in fact, lead to severe illnesses.
As a commercial cleaner, you have a somewhat uphill battle. The bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause these diseases will fight you every step of the way. Legionella will multiply in the deepest recesses of a plumbing system. The fungi that cause athlete’s foot will literally walk into a locker room the minute you leave. That’s without even getting into diseases related to poor sanitation or insect-borne illnesses like malaria.
Still, there is a lot you can do to limit and prevent the spread of these diseases. So what should you look out for?
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What cleaning professionals can do about these 7 diseases caused by uncleanliness
1. Asthma. Asthma itself is not one of the diseases caused by uncleanliness. It’s not even technically a disease, although it can be deadly. Among the things that trigger an asthma attack are dust, dirt, and mold. It’s probably not a surprise that the preventative for this is thorough cleaning and elimination of mold and dust.
2. Bronchitis. Acute bronchitis comes from the same type of virus that gives us a cold or the flu. Most bronchitis is due to smoking, however, air pollution, dust, and contaminated surfaces may also spread the virus. Handwashing is one of the best preventatives, but keeping the environment clean also helps prevent the spread.
3. Clostridium Difficile. Commonly called C. Diff., this bacteria causes diarrhea, fever, nausea, and abdominal pain, and most often comes from contaminated bathrooms and diaper changing areas. Proper handwashing is one of the most effective defenses against this bacteria, but for commercial cleaners, the best preventative is to use a disinfectant approved by the EPA as effective against C. difficile spores.
4. Hot Tub Rash. Hot tub rash comes from a germ that lives in poorly maintained hot tubs or spas. The best prevention is to ensure these environments have the proper disinfectant and pH levels.
5. Legionnaire’s Disease. Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s Disease, reproduces in underused plumbing systems, including hot tubs, showerheads, and hot water tanks. A complete water management program is the best prevention, but regular cleaning and disinfecting of accessible points like faucets can help.
6. Pinworm. Pinworms are most frequently spread through contaminated food or bedding, but this parasite can spread through excessive dust.
7. Salmonellosis. Salmonella, or food poisoning, isn’t something we typically associate with diseases caused by uncleanliness. More often, it comes from contaminated food that we get at the supermarket or a restaurant. However, Salmonella can live for weeks on a dry surface, according to the CDC. That means contaminated food in a break room could potentially live on a table or countertop where it could impact people.
Can cleaning really prevent these diseases?
If we’ve learned anything since a certain unnamed virus entered our lives recently, it’s that cleaning professionals play a significant role in keeping our communities safe. We know viruses and bacteria can spread even in clean environments, never mind locations that never see the business end of a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
Indeed, you may have limited tools in preventing some of the diseases caused by uncleanliness. For example, legionella may be hard to get to. Asthma is largely out of your control, although you can help prevent flare-ups. Still, you can take steps to limit the chances that they will impact people.
And yes, there are plenty of other diseases that come from living in polluted environments. Sometimes we just have to do the best we can with what we have. Fortunately, there are quite a few tools at our disposal.
- EPA-listed disinfectants
- Electrostatic sprayers
- Room foggers
- Microfiber cloths and mops
- HVAC filter replacement if you have a facilities maintenance add-on to your contract
- Organized checklists
- HEPA filters
- Training and experience
- Industry best practices
You may not be a doctor or pharmacist, but you have the power to help your clients and your community remain healthy.
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