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Avoiding Winter Viruses in the Workplace

A primary goal of professional cleaners is to keep people healthy. With winter’s arrival, this means it’s time to focus on winter viruses and ways we can prevent their spread.

Many viruses are seasonal, occurring mostly in the winter months when weather is colder, humidity levels fluctuate with indoor heating and daylight hours are shorter. This combination of factors can make viruses more stable, allowing them to remain airborne and transmittable for a longer time. However, just because they’re airborne longer doesn’t mean they’re only transmitted through inhalation. In many cases, viruses are transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces and objects.

With this in mind, here are some seasonal winter viruses that can be transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces:

  • Strep throat. Caused by inhaling or touching a bacteria called Streptococcus, strep throat differs from a simple sore throat. It requires antibiotics to treat and, according to one doctor, "your throat feels like swallowing knives every time you swallow."

  • Norovirus. This disease causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Very contagious, it spreads primarily by touching contaminated surfaces. Norovirus occurs most frequently from November through April and is found more on land than at sea.

  • Bronchitis. The most common symptom of bronchitis is coughing. It spreads by inhalation and by touching tainted surfaces and then touching your nose, eyes or mouth.

  • Pneumonia. More common in the winter months, symptoms include cough, high fever, fatigue, chest pain and shortness of breath. Spread by inhalation, the virus can also be transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces.

Because these viruses are seasonal, cleaning professionals need to make seasonal cleaning changes, using different cleaning solutions and procedures to prevent these diseases from spreading. Check with your cleaning provider to confirm proper cleaning solutions and procedures are in place to rid your facility of seasonal viruses, or call on PMM to evaluate your current conditions and cleaning needs by emailing us at You may also visit our website for additional information on our Green Seal-certified chemicals, processes and procedures here.

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