The cold and flu season peaks in February, but don't tell that to my family. Here we are in March and in the past week my oldest son, myself, my wife — and oldest son again — have all gotten sick.

I know I've talked about infection control before on this page, but to me it's a topic that can't be stressed enough. Each year between 35 million and 50 million Americans come down with influenza. Workers miss 70 million days a year just by the catching common cold, to a cost of $8 billion annually.

Besides absenteeism, there's also the problem of presenteeism, or sick employees still reporting to work. These workers aren't performing up to their normal capabilities and amount to another 2.5 billion days of lost productivity a year.

In this economic downturn, facility managers want to reduce their spending for cleaning. But if they realized the productivity and resulting dollars this decision was costing their companies, they might reconsider.

Workers miss 70 million
days a year just by catching
the common cold, to a cost
of $8 billion annually

By just disinfecting commonly touched objects and surfaces with a chemical disinfectant and microfiber cloth or with a pre-moistened disinfecting wipe, janitors can remove 99.9 percent of germs, seriously limiting the potential for infections in any facility.

Up to 90 percent of adults with a cold have the virus on their hands. Before eating or after shaking hands, sneezing, coughing or using restrooms, people need to wash their hands to curb the spread of infections. Make sure cleaning programs still include frequent restocking of soap and towel dispensers. In areas without access to water, supply hand sanitizers.

Flu season can last until May and colds are contagious year-round. Cutting cleaning programs could jeopardize the health of your customers' customer — the building occupant.