Good news: fewer British workers are getting sick. But even those who had sniffles prefer to report to their jobs. On the downside, companies lost over 137 million working days because of injury and sickness. That’s an average of almost five days per employee. The cause is simple: the common cold.
Minor illnesses accounted for 34 million lost days, beating stress, mental disorders, and musculoskeletal diseases and injuries. What is it with a common cold that makes it an economic threat? Here are the possible explanations:
There Are Different Types of Common Cold Viruses
Most people are now aware common cold happens because of a virus. What many don’t know is that there are different types—over 150 of them. Rhinovirus causes about half of the cases. It thrives in temperatures between 33 to 35 degrees Celsius, which is like that of the nose. Some incidents may be because of coronavirus, which can be life-threatening. An example is SARS-CoV, which killed 11% of the patients in 2003.
The Virus Can Spread Fast
If you haven’t thought about workplace cleanliness, then perhaps this information will motivate you to hire office cleaning specialists.
Viruses such as those that can cause common cold can spread quickly. In 2014, the University of Arizona conducted a study on how fast a virus can contaminate objects in the workplace. They used a tracer virus and placed it on desks, light switches, countertops, push buttons, and bed rails, to name a few. Based on their analysis, the harmful microorganism can contaminate 60% of these surfaces in less than five hours!
That’s not all, though. The common cold virus can be contagious and remain this way for days. An ill person can spread the microorganism as short as a day before the symptoms appear. They may still be infectious for two weeks. Just because you feel better doesn’t mean that you can’t make other people sick.
The Virus Can Spread in Many Ways
Some viruses can spread by touching the infected bodily fluids. Take, for example, Ebola. Others can be infectious via saliva such as rabies. A person can acquire the common cold virus in multiple ways such as breathing and touching.
Common Colds Can Lead to Other Conditions
Rhinovirus, which is the leading cause of common cold, can also affect other parts of the body. These include the throat, ears, and the sinuses. Although different viruses lead to flu and the common cold, both can occur at the same time. Worse, they can progress to pneumonia, which can be deadly.
A sniffle, therefore, can be life-threatening to specific groups. These include seniors, who may already have chronic diseases, and children with an immature immune system. A study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 2017 revealed that it could worsen to deadly pneumonia for transplant patients.
With this information, one should never take common cold for granted. It can be both costly and deadly in some instances. The good news is that it is avoidable. Maintaining workplace cleanliness is one effective strategy.
Read more at Lean And Green Business.