“Public health has gone from quietly operating in the background to having the whole nation’s attention.”
– Jill Ryan, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Public health is a practice that has been referenced continually over the past two years, but I still find that many do not truly appreciate what it means to be a public health professional. In general, public health aims to promote and protect the health and safety of populations of people through prevention. While a doctor focuses on an individual patient, public health professionals are focused on a whole subset of people. In practice this might be a public health nurse at a local health department focusing on a designated county or state. Or this might be an infection prevention practitioner in a hospital that is dedicated to their specific inpatient population. Public health professionals are not limited to just one area of practice. Some are in research, while others work for non-profit organizations. Some are like me and have chosen to use their public health skills to educate and advocate within the professional cleaning industry. While our journeys are different, one thing unites us and that is the passion for the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities.

Components of the Public Health System

The American Public Health Association (APHA) held its annual conference this fall, and I was lucky enough to attend virtually. This year’s meeting focused on a wide variety of hot topics including lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, social connectedness, health equity, climate change, and health advocacy and policy. With over 9,000 public health professionals attending either in-person or virtually, the content delivered on APHA’s commitment to unite members, corporations, organizations, and government agencies for the benefit of society.

One standout theme I took away from the sessions I attended was the need for safe cleaning and disinfectant use, education, and communication. Below you will find the top public health recommendations while we make our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and refocus on all the other pathogens of concern in our shared spaces:

  • Always follow CDC, state and local public health guidelines.
  • Use only EPA-Registered Disinfectants according to label directions.
  • Be sure to read labels and follow directions for safe use including wearing required personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Do not mix chemicals.
  • Watch out for misleading claims — always refer back to the EPA for guidance!
  • Use Smart Disinfection to target high-touch, shared surfaces.

As cleaning professionals, it is easy to forget that the work we do every day protects the health and safety of others. In many ways the cleaning professional’s role is one and the same as public health professionals everywhere. Protecting and creating safe environments for our families, employees, patients, customers and students is fundamental to the public health system, but so often a thankless job. As public health champion Dr. William Herbert Foege highlighted so perfectly, “No one will thank you for the disease they didn’t get.” Well, during this holiday season, all of us at CloroxPro would like to show our appreciation for all our fellow public health cleaning ambassadors. Stay safe and THANK YOU for your invaluable work!