Americans attend church for their spiritual well being. Most people rarely consider how church attendance could affect their physical health. However, churches may have a higher risk of contagion spread that other places where people gather because members shake hands, hug, and share communion cups.
Here are four specific cleanliness concerns for churches.
1. Safer Communion Cups
It is impossible to full protect people from illness during communion when the church uses shared cups. Some may see the tradition of a shared cup as too important to change, and the choice to drink from a communal cup is one that the leaders of the church and the members should make. However, the use of individual cups can protect those that worry about becoming ill.
The flu can become deadly for anyone but is even more dangerous for people over the age of 65, younger than age five, and who have a weak immune system. A simple cold can threaten the health of someone with a respiratory illness. Trays of disposable cups or small, reusable cups offer a safe option to those most at risk from the complications of an illness.
2. Cleaner Shared Books
Shelves of hymnals and Bibles commonly line the backs or bottoms of pews. The books enable everyone to follow along with the service and the songs, but the constant handling can cause the spread of germs. An addition to the shelf could include boxes of tissues and bottles of hand sanitizer to help keep the bacteria level lower.
Wipe off the covers of the books with sanitizing wipes to help reduce the number of germs left behind. The wipes can also clean the pews, especially along the backs and sides of the seats where people often place their hands. Small cleaning measures cannot remove all germs, but steps like these can reduce risk.
3. Cleaner Baptismal Tanks
Baptismal tanks and fonts could become the breeding ground for a lot of dangerous bacteria. A study in Vienna and Austria showed that bacteria had infected 86 percent of church holy water. The bacteria included E. coli and enterococci that can lead to severe illness and even death.
Church officials or professional cleaners need to drain and clean fonts and tanks often to prevent bacteria, algae, and mold growth. Using UV light systems, bleach, or other purification methods can also help to avoid unintentionally exposing anyone to illness-causing germs.
4. Healthier Play Areas
Some of the most important areas to protect are the rooms used as nurseries and Sunday school classrooms. Young church attendees have a higher risk of catching a contagious illness because they put their hands and toys in their mouths and play closely with their friends.
Church staff in charge of children need to make certain that hand washing becomes a habit before snack time and after bathroom breaks. Sanitizing stations in each room enable a quick cleanup after a sneeze. Discourage hand-holding or games that require contact between the children during cold and flu season.
Choose washable books and toys for nurseries and clean the items often. Keep sanitizing cleaning wipes available and clean all the tables with the wipes after every class. Keep the windows uncovered on sunny days so the UV rays of the sun can enter the room and help keep bacteria counts lower.
Many options exist for churches that want to reduce the spread of illnesses and keep attendance high. Sanitizing commonly handled items, live-streaming services to encourage ailing worshippers to stay home and rest, and better cleaning practices can make a huge difference. At Advanced Office Care, we can design a customized program to meet your cleaning needs. Contact us to learn more.