With autumn here and winter just around the corner, the cold and flu season is upon us. It is important to maintain a hygienic workplace in order to combat germs and viruses. According to the CDC and their Stop Germs Flu Guide, most people do not get sick from actually touching an object or surface. Rather, they touch their own mouth, nose or eyes after being in contact with another person who has a cold or other virus. For example, shaking hands or being close to someone when he or she sneezes. This article will discuss steps that individuals can take to ensure that sickness bugs don’t destroy their office.
1. Use Common Sense
Basic common sense dictates that you adhere to courteous behaviors while in the workplace environment such as those listed below.
- Cover your nose and mouth and don’t sneeze or cough on another person. However, this does not always happen. When someone is feeling sick and still at work, common sense is not of the utmost concern. If you are not sick, it is important to steer clear of someone who is—provided that is possible in the current work environment. The CDC provides more tips for dealing with colds and flus such as washing hands or using an alcohol-based hand rub if you don’t have access to soap and water.
- Eliminate the spread of germs and viruses by staying home from work if you are sick. You know your body the best and if you have even the slightest inclination that you are coming down with a cold or the flu and could possibly get others sick, make the decision to stay home from work. Utilize the sick or personal days that most companies provide to employees. If your company offers the opportunity to work from home, you can choose that option if you feel well enough to get some work done. If you do not have any sick days left and you are extremely sick, call your manager to explain the situation. You may be permitted to take the day off.
- Refrain from the common habit of touching your face. We all touch our eyes, nose or mouth throughout the day and it becomes a subconscious habit. However, especially during the November through April cold and flu season, you should refrain from touching your face. As previously mentioned, the orifices on our face are the main ways for germs and viruses to enter our system. (Source: CDC: Stop Germs)
2. Maintain a Hygienic Office Space
Most people are busy actually completing their work tasks throughout the day and don’t have the time to devote to maintaining a hygienic office space. However, it is vital that your workspace is clean and sanitary so that you can avoid getting sick, especially during the cold and flu season. Some tips to maintain a sanitized office space are listed below.
- Sanitize your keyboard, mouse, phone and desktop. You are not the only person who comes into contact with your office space during the day. Even if you are following hygienic behaviors, you don’t know what others are doing and what germs and viruses are being transferred to your office.
- Make a consistent effort to wash your hands frequently. According to the CDC hand-washing is basically equal to a “do-it-yourself vaccine”. Their agency advocates five basic, yet effective steps: think wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry. By following these basic hand-washing techniques, individuals can “reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness” and stay healthy.
3. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Living a healthy lifestyle increases your chances of maintaining your health. A healthy immune system is better able to fend off germs, viruses and diseases. Following the suggestions below can help you stay healthy.
- Make sure you get a full eight hours of sleep consistently each night. Of course, this may not be possible every night. However, the more consistent your sleep patterns, the better it is for your body.
- Drink the right amount of water each day. You should drink at least 8 oz. of water each day. However, it is even better to follow this simple formula: divide your body weight by 2 and that is the amount of ounces of water you should drink daily.
- Keep your body moving with daily exercise. It is important to your daily health that you exercise. Most individuals work full-time or part-time each week. However, you need to find a way to fit at least 3 days of 30 minutes of aerobic or cardiovascular type activity into your week.
- Get a flu shot as a preventive measure. Many times, prevention is the best medicine. The CDC has a listing of the current flu vaccinations which are available for the 2014-2015 Flu Season.
- Eat a healthy diet and take daily vitamin supplements. Not everyone can eat organic fruits and vegetables and free-range meat products due to higher costs of such foods. Even if you do eat organic foods, you are still not getting all of the vital nutrients that your body needs. That is why supplementing your diet with vitamins is important; especially if you can take a natural supplement with live enzymes. Taking an additional vitamin C supplement during the flu season is another preventive health measure.
Following common sense and using preventive health measures can help you to ensure that both you and your coworkers are healthier during this cold and flu season. As discussed in this article, there are three basic factors involved, beginning with using common sense. You need to maintain a hygienic office space and follow a healthy lifestyle regimen.
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