As Canada heads into a season of battling the spread of a swine flu pandemic, it's worth thinking about what you can do to protect yourself when buying or selling a home. Your health and that of your family is worth nothing less than the precautions against the H1N1 virus that we are advocating as a corporation to our 7,500+ CENTURY 21 realtors across Canada.
I, and my executive management team at CENTURY 21 Canada, consider this pandemic to have the same possible impact as SARS, and therefore are urging all our offices to discuss the following information with their staff and sales representatives, and take proactive measures to stop the spread.
- We recommend that you strategically place disinfectant hand sanitizer throughout your office and washrooms
- We suggest you also provide sanitizing hand wipes that can be used on public keyboards, telephones, etc.
- Make sure your washrooms are equipped with disposable towels and soap
- We recommend that you request that staff who are feeling sick or have influenza symptoms to stay at home
- We recommend that you avoid contact with people who are sick
- When coughing or sneezing, you should cover your mouth and nose with tissue and immediately discard the tissues
- It is strongly recommend that people wash their hands often with warm water and soap, and if that is not possible, to use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers
- People should avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth if they are in an area where someone is ill, and maintain a minimum distance of 2 metres (6 feet) away from people who are sick
- We recommend that sales representatives carry hand sanitizers in their cars and provide them to clients prior to entering and after leaving properties that they have viewed
- Some people will request a mask prior to entering a property – the recommended type of mask, by the public health agency of Canada is the N95 respirator mask. (There is controversy over the use of the masks as if not handled properly, it can actually increase the possibility of infection – it is recommended prior to placing a mask on that hand sanitization takes place – a mask can only be used once; and has a life of a maximum of 6 hours of continuous use)
- With regard to seasonal flu vaccines, we recommend that you follow guidelines as recommended by your local health authority
The symptoms of H1N1 are fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue – a significant number of people also report diarrhoea and vomiting.
As a home buyer looking at a property, please let the real estate sales representative know if you don't see hand sanitizer, or soap and disposable paper towels, for your use at the site. Regardless of which real estate company you're using, I doubt you'll offend anyone for helping to prevent the spread of a very infectious disease.