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6 Tips for Keeping the Cold and Flu Out of the Office

The more people there are in your office, the more chances there are that someone who's sick with the cold or flu will bring it to work with them. Once you or another employee becomes sick, germs can easily spread throughout the workplace and to coworkers.

Co-worker shielding another co-worker's sneeze away from her direction.

Take a look at implementing these six tips to prevent the cold or flu from entering your office.

  1. Avoid spreading the cold or flu to others. Stay away from your sick coworkers. If you're the one who’s sick, protect other people by keeping your distance so they don't become sick too. This could include taking a sick day or asking your boss if you can work from home.

  2. Wash your hands. Use hot, soapy water and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, frequently, says the Mayo Clinic. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if no water and soap are available. Washing your hands regularly can help keep you from becoming sick since cold viruses can live on your hands.

  3. Get the flu vaccine. An annual flu vaccine is a first and vital step you can take to protect yourself against cold or flu viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The flu vaccine can help protect you from the most common viruses, which can reduce missing work and added doctors' visits.

  4. Cover your nose and mouth. While sneezing or coughing, cover your nose and mouth. It could prevent you from spreading germs on those around you and keep them from becoming sick. If you don't cover your nose and mouth when sneezing, coughing or not washing your hands, not only can you spread the flu, you can spread other severe respiratory illnesses, such as whooping cough.

  5. Use hand sanitizer. . After a coughing or sneezing bout, many employees don't think to go wash their hands in the bathroom. And if they did, they'd be wasting a lot of productive time. By having hand sanitizer available, they'll be more inclined to use it. Ensure you have it where everyone can see it and install it in various areas of your building. You can also purchase individual hand sanitizers that employees can keep on their desks during the cold and flu season.

  6. Educate employees on healthy habits. Be proactive about educating your staff on health-related issues. Consider sponsoring a health fair on-site that focuses on health-related and office hygiene topics, so your staff can learn how to avoid conditions and circumstances that promote sickness.

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