Between 9.2 million and 35.6 million cases of the flu arise each year in the United States. Starting as early as October and ending as late as May. Fever, fatigue, body aches, and vomiting are a few of the symptoms you might experience with the flu. While it’s no fun for the infected individual, the flu season can have a huge impact on your physical therapy clinic. Between lost billable hours and canceled appointments, a few sick clinicians can add up to a fairly substantial loss of revenue.
Working in a physical therapy office means working with individuals of all ages and immunity levels. It also means that there is a constant flow of people coming in and out of the clinic, making it the perfect place for germs that cause the flu to wreak havoc.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top ways you can help cut your clinicians’ and patients’ exposure and reduce the risk of illness this flu season.
Ensure Your Clinicians Wash Their Hands Between Patients
Washing your hands is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs. Every day you’re your clinical staff is working with people in close contact. It’s crucial that they do their best to cut the spread of germs by washing their hands several times during the day.
Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds and dry them with a paper towel. This is your best bet for reducing flu-causing germs.
If you’re slammed and can’t wash your hands with water for the full 20-seconds, don’t worry. Hand sanitizer is an effective and efficient way to keep your hands germ-free. After working with a patient apply a dime size amount of sanitizer to your hands and rub until the sanitizer is absorbed.
Implement A Flu Shot Policy
Ever hear the saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? The single best way for your staff to avoid getting the flu is to have them get the flu shot. Your office staff should get the shot as early as possible. Preferably, in the early fall but late winter is fine, as well.
Don’t Touch Your Face if You Haven’t Washed Your Hands
This is a common habit many of us are guilty of. Your nose, eyes, and mouth are the gateways for germs to enter and infect your body. If you’re a habitual nail biter or rub your eyes when you’re stressed, try to find a new outlet for releasing mild anxiety that crops up during the day.
Cover Your Mouth
Remind your staff and your patients to cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze. Have you ever heard of the phrase “sneeze like a vampire”? It’s when you use the crook of your elbow to cover your mouth (instead of your hands).
Around 3,000 droplets of potentially infected material are expelled in a single cough and some of them fly up to 50mph. So, it’s no surprise how germs spread so fast in an office. If you cover your mouth with your hands, be sure to wash them immediately afterward with either soap and water or hand sanitizer.
Use Easily Sanitized EcoPro Pillow Covers
Pillows are used to support the head and legs during physical therapy sessions. A pillow is one of the most used items in your clinic. Which means, it’s the one most likely to contract germs that spread the flu.
As a rule, most clinics swap out their cloth pillow cases between patients (which does help to cut down on infection), but this can result in mountainous piles of germ-exposed laundry that your clinicians then have to process.
EcoPro Pillow Covers are easily cleaned and sanitized with disinfecting sprays or wipes. Made from soft, faux leather material these pillow covers are perfect for the office. Disinfect between patients and say goodbye to laundry and germs.
Make Sure Your Clinic Staffers Take Care of Themselves
Your clinicians are no good to patients if they are sick. Not only will they not be on their A-Game, but they run the risk of spreading their sickness to your patients. Be sure your staff handbook has some rules in place for deciding when/if a clinic should come to work or stay home sick. There’s no reason for them to come into the office and get your fellow clinicians and patients sick.
Stay Healthy this Flu Season
At EcoPro, we’re all about providing high-quality, eco-friendly products for the health and wellness industry. Health is wealth after all! Our EcoPro pillow cover is becoming the standard for all physical therapy offices, chiropractors, massage therapists, medical doctors, and health and wellness facilities. Thanks to the easy to clean surface, our pillow covers prevent the spread of germs, like the flu, so you and your patients can stay happy and healthy all winter long.