How To Stay Healthy At Work This Flu Season
You’ve spoken with your commercial cleaning services already about taking preventative steps, but every year you see the dreaded colds, flu’s and general ‘lurgies’ get passed from one co-worker to another in your office – short of going all “Walter White” and wearing a hazmat suit – how are you going to avoid getting a cold or flu this winter?
(And this year, you’re determined that won’t happen to you and your team).
You’re praying you’ll be spared this year because you have so much on your plate – you’re literally too busy to get sick….
This year is going to be different goddammit…
Sure, you may be prone to picking things up if you have a weak immune system, or if your commercial cleaning services at the office leave a lot to be desired, perhaps things may not be as clean as they should be.
But, it’s far more likely that your office friends and colleagues may have a few nasty hygiene habits that make it way too easy for a virus to take hold and spread in your office.
So, if you’d prefer to avoid suffering through another cold, flu or lurgie this winter, infectious disease specialists say being extra careful about hand hygiene, amongst other things, might just keep these bugs at bay..
“We know that some years (viruses) are more severe than others,” says Dr. Neil Fishman, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and director of the Department of Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Control for the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “But it’s not impossible to totally avoid getting sick.”
How Easily Can A Cold Be Spread?
If you’re anything like most people, when you see a co-worker who’s sniffling, sneezing or just generally unwell, you’ll try and sit as far as possible away from them during meetings.
And with good reason…
“If you had X-ray vision,” says Dr. William Schaffner, professor and chair of the Vanderbilt Department of Preventive Medicine and vice president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, “you would see a cloud of viruses around them. Every time they exhale, respiratory viruses come out, extending about three feet, creating a cloud around them.”
But there’s more to it than that..
Research done by the University of Virginia Health System, showed that people infected with colds and flu routinely contaminate common objects, such as light switches, the button on the photocopier, door handles – in fact anything that they touch… which you then touch.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, they’re actually excreting the virus up to 24 hours prior to when symptoms arrive.
In other words, your colleague who stood by your desk yesterday, or handed you the whiteboard marker at yesterdays’ meeting could be sick but not have symptoms yet.
What’s the Difference Between a Cold and The Flu?
If you’re not sure whether you have a cold or flu, check out this great infographic from Health Direct:
Infographic courtesy of
Prevention Tips – How Can You Avoid Getting Sick?
Here’s a few ideas that should help keep you well this flu season:
# 1 Keep Your Distance & Stay At Home
These days we’re all so busy that we often don’t stay home when we’re sick – instead preferring to ‘tough it out’. Please don’t do that – your co-workers don’t want your cold or flu, and you need to get better.
# 2 Wash your hands
Thoroughly and frequently!! Most organisms are more easily transmitted through contact with the hands than sneezes. What that means is that when you come into contact with the virus, all you need to do is literally touch your face or rub your nose, and you’re probably going to get infected.
So, try to avoid touching your face when you know you haven’t washed your hands in a while, and especially if you’ve just shaken hands with someone who may have a cold or flu..
# 3 Get Your Commercial Cleaning Services Provider Involved
If you’ve got a lot of door handles in between your office’s bathroom sink and your desk, ask whoever supplies your commercial cleaning services to clean these areas each week or alternatively, consider trying the old method of using a paper towel as a protective barrier for your hand.
Another good solution is to keep a few bottles of hand sanitiser strategically located within your office (on your desk, in the kitchen, the meeting room – wherever!)..
# 4 Take Vitamin C
Having regular doses of Vitamin C really does help boost your immune system. We love the Bioglan One-A-Day 1000mg Vitamin C as a great preventative step against colds and flu. And of course, to stay healthy, you need to eat healthy. A well balanced diet, and drinking plenty of water will ensure you have all have the best chance of staying well..
# 5 Don’t share
Cups, plates, cutlery, lunch – whatever…! If you have Friday drinks at the office each week, make sure the finger food can be easily grabbed without cross contamination.
# 6 Get Vaccinated
ABC News reported that an estimated 14,000 cases of flu were reported in Australia in 2016 while according to the Australian Health Department, approximate 3500 die each year from the infection.
So doctors are urging all Australians to take advantage of the free flu vaccine. It may not save you from catching a nasty cold, but the vaccine could at least save you from catching the flu bug that’s bound to make its way around your office this winter.
And the good news is the latest vaccine is now available – with this year’s vaccine expected to be more effective than last year’s formulation.
However… here’s the rub. Sometimes, despite having a strong immune system, eating well, taking vitamin C, and getting your commercial cleaning service to wipe down every single touch point in your office – you STILL may not be able to avoid every cold that passes through your office.
But hey, it’s always worth a shot.
Hamish Macqueen – Managing Director and Founder of Cleancorp.
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