Not only is it the beginning of winter, it is also the arrival of cold and flu season. You may have noticed that more people in your office are coughing, sneezing and possibly even taking sick days. Avoiding getting sick at work is difficult when so many viruses are in the air and germs surround you. Want to avoid calling in sick this season? Here are some tips to stay healthy in the office:
1. Wash your hands. A lot.
To properly wash your hands you will need to do three things: wet your hands with water and apply soap, rub your hands together quickly to create lather and continue for about 20 seconds. It is also recommended by the Global Hygiene Council1 to wash your hands more than six times a day. It might seem obvious or lengthy, but falling ill is worse.
2. Get the flu vaccine.
Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. between December and February.2 After you get the flu vaccination it takes about two weeks for the antibodies to develop in your body. Getting the vaccine also helps you avoid getting other people in the office sick.
3. Avoid the morning cup of Joe.
Did you know that coffee pot handles are among the most germ infested areas in your office? So after you pour your coffee, consider wiping the handle, washing your hands, or skipping it altogether.3
4. Eat lunch somewhere other than your desk.
Another germ stricken area is your own desk. Between your keyboard, mouse and desktop, your working space is germ central. Do you eat your lunch at your desk daily? Try dining at a designated area or even outside if you can.
5. Give your immune system a boost.
Avoiding illness has as much to do with personal health as it does avoiding germs. Are you getting enough exercise and sleep? Are you stocking up on vitamin C and anti-oxidants? Keeping your immune system healthy is a top priority when you’re in an office environment.
6. Keep the hand sanitizer handy.
Although hand sanitizer is no match for actually washing your hands, it is more accessible and helpful. Pick up some alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.4 They don’t remove all germs, but they do lower the number of germs on your hands.
7. If you start feeling the symptoms, just stay home.
If you wake up with a sore throat, headache, cough, and runny nose – just stay home. There’s no reason to go to work and infect those around you. Request to work from home or spend the day getting yourself back to 100%.
1 CDC.gov. (11 December 2013). You’re your hands. Retrieved December 3, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/features/handwashing/
2 CDC.gov. (22 October 2014). Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. Retrieved December 3, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm
3 Evans, L. (31 October 2014). 6 Ways to avoid making everyone in your office. Retrieved December 3, 2014 from http://www.fastcompany.com/3037842/6-ways-to-avoid-making-everyone-in-your-office-sick
4 Dallas, M. (29 January 2014). How to never get sick at work. Retrieved December 3, 2014 from http://www.everydayhealth.com/cold-flu-pictures/never-get-sick-work.aspx#04