In Microbiology, News & Views

According to global health reports, a record number of influenza virus strains are currently circulating around the world – namely two ‘A’ strains and two ‘B’ strains, including the notorious H1N1.

Influenza – or flu as it is more commonly referred to – is unique among human infectious diseases. It normally persists in the cool, dry regions of East Asia but the virus is also globally prevalent during seasonal temperature drops. It is thought that the most common mechanism by which the flu virus spreads from person to person is in exhaled droplets. However, the virus can also be picked up from contaminated surfaces. In reality, it is the combination of these two factors that results in virtually everyone being exposed when an outbreak occurs.

Last winter’s influenza pandemic accounted for 220,000 deaths in Europe alone. A major problem with an influenza virus is that unlike other infections, such as measles, contracting it once does not make you immune from further infections in the future. Unfortunately for humans, influenza viruses are rather good at evading our immune response by continually mutating and keeping one step ahead of our defences.

So, how can we protect ourselves and others?

  • Get vaccinated: Vaccination is still the most effective way to reduce the chance of contracting influenza; at the very least it will minimise the severity of flu symptoms.
  • Wash those hands: Due to the very nature of how we use them, our hands will almost inevitably come into contact with flu viruses via our interactions with contaminated surfaces. All that is needed for infection to occur is the transfer of the active virus from our hands to our mouth or nose. It’s as easy as that! Therefore, maintaining effective hand hygiene is essential to minimising the spread of infection from surface to person and vice versa. Take a look at BioCote’s infographic to see what a proven hand-washing strategy looks like.
  • Keep it clean: Flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours. Therefore, if you are in an environment that has been exposed to someone with the flu, make sure you decontaminate any common touch-points with a proven disinfectant or antibacterial wipe.
  • Don’t play the martyr: Turning up to work with the flu is not a virtue and your colleagues certainly will not thank you for contaminating their work environment with a highly contagious virus. Stay at home!
  • Utilise antimicrobial products and surfaces: BioCote® Antimicrobial Technology is proven to deactivate the H1N1 virus and is also capable of eliminating antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria by up to 99.99%. Our additives have already been manufactured into a range of products and surfaces that can be incorporated into any environment to help minimise the spread of infections. Take a look at our case studies to see real-life examples of BioCote® in action.

For more information on BioCote®, our range of treatable materials, or products that currently benefit from our technology, please contact a member of the team on +44 (0) 2477 712 489. Alternatively, send us a message.

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