Hygiene in workplaces is, and always has been, an essential aspect of work. The practice of good hygiene helps to improve health by preventing diseases.
Despite its significance to health and businesses, good hygiene practices were not taken seriously for a long time. However, all this seems to have changed with the advent of the coronavirus outbreak in 2019. After the coronavirus outbreak in 2019, the world has become very sensitive to health and sanitation. We are yet to recover from the effects of COVID-19, and there has been another viral infection global outbreak – monkeypox. The good news is, health institutions have developed methods to control its spread.
Before 2022, confirmed monkeypox cases only involved people who had close contact with infected animals and international travelers. Yet, there has been a rapid increase in cases of monkeypox in countries where they do not usually occur. Although monkeypox is not as deadly as COVID-19, it still threatens the workforce’s functionality. So, business owners should have measures to help curb the spread of these diseases.
But, before we look at what businesses can do, let us briefly discuss monkeypox.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is an infection caused by the monkeypox virus. It can be transmitted from animals to humans. It is also transmitted from human to human.
What are the Symptoms of Monkeypox?
The symptoms of monkeypox are pretty similar to smallpox. Although, it is markedly milder and rarely fatal. After contracting monkeypox, it typically takes a few days for the symptoms to develop.
The followings symptoms can be associated with monkeypox:
- Swollen lymph nodes
It is essential to go to a health care facility once you start experiencing the symptoms of monkeypox.
How Does Monkeypox Spread?
The primary mode of transmission of monkeypox is through direct skin-to-skin contact. Direct contact forms include bodily fluids, blood, respiratory droplets, and sexual intercourse. The monkeypox virus can also spread through objects, surfaces, and fabrics contaminated with the virus. Pregnant women can also pass the infection to their unborn children.
How do These Diseases Affect Your Business?
A rapid spread of these diseases could cause a shortage of staff available to work due to the self-isolation period for confirmed persons. When a disease outbreak worsens, it could take a massive toll on the economy, including the business sector.
In addition, other sectors of the economy could be affected because infected employees cannot travel. However, policies encouraging employees to work from home during their isolation period can lessen this impact.
The Effect of Diseases on Staff
Exposure to these infectious diseases in the workplace causes reduced productivity and efficiency due to reduced staffing. Infected employees have to isolate themselves for the duration of the illness, which may be a few weeks. Although some employees can work from home, it cannot be compared to the efficiency of working at the workplace.
In addition, employees exposed to these infections would have to quarantine and monitor for symptoms for a while. Further spread of the infections will cause adverse effects on the workforce, especially essential workers.
The Effect of Monkeypox on Customers
There will be reduced business activity if there is an outbreak of infectious diseases in the workplace. Schedules and appointments may not go as planned to prevent the further spread of the infections.
How to Handle Your Business with Monkeypox and Other Infectious Diseases?
Business owners need to be proactive about ensuring the safety of their employees and customers. This can be achieved by creating a clean workplace for business transactions.
The WHO and CDC have recommendations to prevent the spread of monkeypox with very low risk to business owners. Some of which are:
Education of the Workforce
There is a need to educate your employees on the information about these diseases. You could have flyers and posters containing symptoms, transmission modes, and prevention around the office.
In addition, employees should promote hand hygiene by encouraging contact-free greetings and regular hand-washing. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be made easily accessible by anyone. There should be temperature checks before entering the workplace.
Implementing a Policy Regarding Employee Exposure and Diagnosis
Most business owners already have existing COVID-19 self-monitoring policies for employees. There might be a need to expand the policies to address the prevention of monkeypox in the workplace. They include ensuring that workers with monkeypox follow recommended isolation practices. Employees who show symptoms should contact the health provider for medical advice, testing, and care. In addition, the provision of flexible sick leaves to infected workers to prevent spread.
It is recommended to work with the local and state health department to monitor the health of workers who might have come in close contact with infected people. Infected employees or those who have been in close contact with an infected person should isolate and quarantine.
Expansion of Existing COVID-19 Protocols to Accommodate the Prevention of Monkeypox in the Workplace
Maintaining a clean, sanitary, and safe environment is the primary factor preventing monkeypox in the workplace. Monkeypox protocols also overlap with COVID-19. It is practical to review and update the COVID-19 safety protocols to serve as safety protocols for monkeypox. Additional protocols include:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have been in close contact with someone who has a rash like that of monkeypox.
- Do not share utensils, materials, and tools with someone with monkeypox symptoms.
- Employees and customers should follow hygiene protocols and frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Employees diagnosed with monkeypox should isolate themselves at home until their symptoms disappear.
- Employees who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox should monitor for symptoms 21 days after exposure.
As a business owner, it is essential to protect your employees and customers by keeping up to date on the latest information on the monkeypox virus. The most reliable sources are the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html and World Health Organization (WHO) https://www.who.int/health-topics/monkeypox
How do you Prevent the Spread of Diseases in the Workplace?
As a business owner, proper cleaning and sanitation are the best way to protect your employees and customers from diseases in your workplace. The importance of having a clean and germ-free working environment cannot be overemphasized. It contains the spread of monkeypox and other contagious infections and diseases, including COVID-19.
The following ways are how to clean and sanitize the workplace properly.
Continue Routine Cleaning
It is essential to maintain the regular cleaning of the workplace.
Frequently Clean and Disinfect Shared Spaces
To reduce the risk of contracting the monkeypox virus from communal spaces. It is essential to clean and disinfect areas with high traffic, that is, with many people. Such as reception areas, meeting rooms, waiting rooms, and bathrooms. Surfaces commonly touched, such as doorknobs, handrails and countertops should be cleaned frequently.
Spaces without access to handwashing and hand sanitizers should also be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
Use Suitable Cleaning Detergents and Disinfectants
You need to verify the detergent and disinfectant you use for cleaning. The cleaning materials have to be effective and safe for public use. There is a need to consider people with health conditions like asthma when choosing cleaning materials. Avoid cleaning materials that trigger allergic reactions and asthma.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved some cleaning products and disinfectants that can be used against monkeypox. The list can be found on their website, http://bit.ly/epa-disinfectants-list.
Train Your Cleaning Staff
Ensure your cleaning staff is trained on proper cleaning and disinfecting products. Also, it is necessary for cleaning staff to use personal protective equipment (PPE) while cleaning.
Cleaning should be done before disinfecting. The wet cleaning method should be used to prevent the spreading of infectious particles.
Cleaning After a Confirmed Case
Sometimes an infected employee may show symptoms while at the office. If this happens, the office has to be cleaned immediately to prevent the spread of the virus. Employing the services of a cleaning agency would save time and energy in getting this done.
Promote the Use of Personal Items
Sharing personal items like cups, handkerchiefs, and utensils should be discouraged in the office. Contaminants can be quickly passed around while sharing. Employees should have their own set of personal utensils to prevent the spread of monkeypox in the workplace.
Monkeypox is rapidly spreading. It is important to maintain a clean and sanitary environment for your employees and customers. Many business owners employ experienced cleaning agencies to handle the cleaning and sanitation of the workplace.
Are you looking for the perfect cleaning agency for your office? You have come to the right place. Puroclean cleaning agency has professional cleaning teams ready to provide the best service you need. We have the best equipment for disinfecting the workplace from all kinds of infectious agents, including monkeypox. We guarantee a germ-free and hygienic working environment without disrupting regular business.