Author Topic: SAFETY: Fight the flu?  (Read 2959 times)

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SAFETY: Fight the flu?
« on: Oct 23, 2009, 10:41 am »
So, the flu has started its sweep through our cast for Arcadia at a community theater. What can I do to help keep everyone involved healthy? Wipe down the props and set pieces nightly? With what? Alcohol? Pledge? Paper towel and water? Can the flu bug live on paper? We're about to enter tech week and there are tons of paper props. I've already set out a hand sanitizer dispenser and water bottles. Any other tips would be appreciated.
« Last Edit: Dec 15, 2009, 01:36 am by Rebbe »


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Re: Fight the flu?
« Reply #1 on: Oct 23, 2009, 11:27 am »
What kind of flu?  Seasonal, or swine?  If anyone has a fever - send them home immediately.

If anyone has any connection to someone working in the medical field, see if they can get ahold of some of the super strength industrial sanitizer that basically kills everything.  And wipe down everything with it.  I forget what it's called, but it kills pretty much EVERY kind of bacteria and pathogen.

The #1 way to stop the spread of germs is to WASH HANDS.  Make sure people are washing their hands constantly, with soap and water, for 15 seconds.

You could also call your local CDC branch and ask them your questions (they'll give you much more accurate and true answers).  Explain to them your concerns, and ask their advice about the best way to prevent the spread of germs.  Believe me, they will appreciate your conscientiousness and will be happy to help you.

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Re: Fight the flu?
« Reply #2 on: Oct 23, 2009, 12:15 pm »
I have also made it a practice to keep a Purell pump on my table during rehearsals.  Now that we're in show time (opening tonight!) I count on them to wash their hands in the dressing room, and have moved the pump down to the dressing rooms so they can use it.  We haven't been hit by flu yet (knock on wood) but we have had a few people with coughs/sneezes, so I also make sure there are tissues on hand at all times. 

Beyond that, I'd agree with BalletPSM.  Wiping down props, railings, door handles, etc with alcohol-based sanitizers is probably your best bet.  Also, if there is any eating off of plates, glasses, silverware in the show, make sure it is all cleaned thoroughly before the show, and that only the actor eating the food is touching the food when possible, so there isn't direct ingestion of the virus. 

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Re: Fight the flu?
« Reply #3 on: Oct 23, 2009, 06:26 pm »
Having recently missed more than a week of rehearsals, etc while out with the H1N1 flu, I can sympathize!!

As everyone has said, good hand hygiene is the best defense.  This means washing/using hand sanitizer frequently, covering your mouth with your arm (not hand) when you cough or sneeze, and staying away from other people when you feel sick.

Bleach wipes are also good, especially if you share phones, computers, or desks.  Don't share water bottles or food.  If you have bigger props to wash off, a 10% bleach/water solution will kill any viruses that are anywhere.  (MAKE SURE YOU TEST IT SOMEWHERE THAT WON'T BE SEEN FIRST).

Influenza (either seasonal or H1N1) is an airborne virus that is transmitted through breath or saliva contact.  The CDC or local health dept will also be able to give you more info.
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Re: Fight the flu?
« Reply #4 on: Oct 24, 2009, 09:40 am »
Purelle sanitiser is one of the only hand sanitisers which will kill H1N1 and the majority of other flue strains (very high alcohol content is what does it) I suggest wipe down frequently handled props with alcohol (do a patch test before you go and wipe the entire thing down though) and see if you can get your hands on a product called Microbac. It will not cause fabrics to bleach - spray on, and (if a hard surface) wipe off 10 seconds later.


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Re: Fight the flu?
« Reply #5 on: Oct 24, 2009, 01:08 pm »

Ahh microbac, you've beaten me to the punch!

Seriously though, this is good stuff and will get the job done.  It's used widely on cruise ships when an outbreak of GI is imminent or has already occurred.  It's certainly an industrial product, so availability may be limited, but see if you can find it. 
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