Fight the Flu at Work: Keep Colds and Flu to Yourself
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that 80% of infectious diseases are spread through touch. So if someone who is sick touches door handles, phones, keyboards, touchpads, lunch room tables, desktops or whatever, odds are pretty good that they left germs behind. (The flu bug can live on surfaces for several days!) If you then touch that object or surface, it’s very possible that you are carrying the bug to the next unsuspecting person.
Take these 5 steps to keep colds and flu to yourself:
- Your nose and mouth are germ spreaders. When you cough or sneeze, use a tissue and then throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, use the crook of your arm or your hand. But then remember that your hand or arm now has germs on it.
- Wash your hands. People touch their faces about 3 to 5 times per minute. During cold and flu season there are more germs around to take a ride on your hands to their next victim. If you’re sick, wash your hands a lot. If you’re not sick, wash your hands a lot. That means soap, hot water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, then drying them thoroughly.
- Know the germ “hot spots” in your office. These are objects or surfaces that are touched by many people throughout the day and tend to harbor the most germs. Common hot spots include door handles, microwave buttons, desktops, telephones, touchpads, and break room tables. Disinfect the “hot spots” in your office, especially during cold and flu season.
- Keep your distance. A Careerbuilder study (Harris Interactive, 2011) showed that 72% of us go to work sick. If you can’t stay at home sick, then stay away from others. Try to do meetings over the phone instead of in person. Don’t shake hands, talk closely, or hug people. Go for the long-distance “air kiss” if you must.
- Remind everyone about fighting the flu at work. Suggest that your company send an email reminding employees and visitors about ways to help prevent the spread of infection. Display hand-washing posters in your lunch room and restrooms. Provide hand sanitizer.
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What are you doing to fight the flu at work this year? Email us your ideas to email@example.com. Go fight some germs!
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