Colds, Flu, or Allergies: Which Is It?Valerie Michiels
Most parts of North America may be in for a pretty severe flu season this year, based on the latest reports in the New England Journal of Medicine* and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But here’s something we have to know. Just because we have stuffy noses, sneezing, sniffling, itchy eyes, coughs, and just don’t feel well, we may not have the flu.
Maybe it’s an allergy or just a bad cold. The symptoms are surprisingly similar.
To help everyone in the professional cleaning industry determine which is which, Avmor has put together the following guide:
|Fever||No||Rare||Yes, and often high|
|General Aches and Pains||Rare||Slight, mild||Yes|
|Just feel lousy||Slight||Slight, mild||Yes, very much so|
|Tired and weak||Sometimes||A little||Yes|
|Exhausted||Rare||No||Yes, especially when it first comes on|
|Stuffy Nose and sneezing||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Chest discomfort, coughing||Rare||Sometimes||Yes|
|Lasts more than a week||Yes||Yes||No|
While the flu is typically the most severe, the one thing it has going for it is that it usually comes and goes within two to four days. Compare that to allergies, which can last for weeks on end.
Avmor also suggests ways cleaning professionals can keep themselves and building users healthier during flu season and throughout the year. Among them are the following:
- Use HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners and change the filters frequently
- Use only green-certified cleaning solutions
- Select GREENGUARD™ certified cleaning solutions. This agency puts greater emphasis on the impact cleaning products have on indoor air quality than other certification organizations.
- Remove “dust collectors” from the office like boxes and books that are rarely accessed.
- Make sure all high touch areas are cleaned regularly and after cleaning, disinfected. It’s a two-step process.
“And based on our guide, if you determine you have the flu, don’t work,” says Mike Watt, with Avmor. “Take a couple of days off and get better so you don’t pass the flu on to anyone else.”
Check out our flyer on the flu for 7 tips to help you stay healthy.
*“Chasing Seasonal Influenza — The Need for a Universal Influenza Vaccine;” by Catharine I. Paules, M.D., Sheena G. Sullivan, M.P.H., Ph.D., Kanta Subbarao, M.B., B.S., M.P.H., and Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. November 29, 2017, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1714916