Along with Halloween, Thanksgiving and all the other Fall and Winter holidays, this time of the year brings colds and flu too. While employers may offer paid sick days or PTO, that doesn’t mean everyone that catches a cold or comes down with the flu will take advantage of that benefit. Perhaps they don’t feel “that sick” or they save those days to take when their kids are sick.
So here they come to work, coughing, sneezing and blowing their nose. Sharing bacteria and germs with everyone. Before you know it, there are more people out sick than there are working. There are somethings we can all do though to prevent the spreading of that unwanted bacteria and germs.
Help prevent the spread of germs in your office by washing frequently and following these five recommendations.
Distance Make The Heart Grow Fonder
And it also keeps you healthy! We can often be contagious with a cold or flu and not know it. Healthy people can be contagious 24 hours before any symptoms begin to develop and show themselves and for as long as a week after they do show. From November to April is the prime time for sickness, so avoid close contact and minimize your exposure during these months.
Clear Choice Staffing Solutions can appreciate the need to save your sick days for when your kids get sick, but do everyone a favor, including yourself, and if you do get sick, stay home for 24 hours after your fever has broke. Flu-like symptoms include body aches, chills, cough, fatigue, fever headaches, runny nose, sore throat, stuffy nose, possible diarrhea and vomiting.
Be Brave And Get Picked
Getting the annual flu shot is the one thing that is strongly recommended by the CDC and medical experts. Afraid of needles? Ask your doctor about the optional intradermal shot which takes a smaller needle and requires less of the virus fighting formula but is still just as effective. One downside to that option is you may experience more redness and soreness.
No time for a doctor appointment? No excuse – the flu shot is available at just about every corner drugstore these days. Some clinics and doctor offices offer flu shots with no appointment necessary. There aren’t too many other times you can just walk in and be seen like there is during flu season!
Be Aware, Be Cautious, Plan and Think Ahead
Be aware of anywhere that people touch with their hands. Bacteria and germs await for their next victim on door handles, elevator buttons, fax machines, office coffee pot, stair rails and the water fountain. Even books, files, food containers, hand or power tools, pencils, pens and phones. If there is any chance that somebody touched something before you, it has bacteria and germs on it.
When it comes to staying healthy during cold and flu season, prevention is power. When opening doors, use your elbow to push them open or a covered had to pull them open. Use paper towels to turn off and on faucets and use hand sanitizers constantly. The germs that spread the common cold can live on your skin or other surfaces for three hours.
Cautious Is Wise
Antibacterial products do not kill germs. Some experts say that antibacterial soap can actually grow bacteria that resist the antimicrobial agents in the soap. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers or products that state they are made to reduce germs are your best ally when it comes to fighting bacteria and germs during the cold and flu season.
When you have a simple cold, a trip to the doctor is just a waste of your co-pay. Antibiotics won’t do a thing for a cold because they are virus based. Save your doctor office co-pay for ear infections, sinusitis or worse that antibiotics actually help. Use that co-pay money for OTC cold remedies like cough suppressants and decongestants. They won’t cure your cold, but they will ease the misery you’re having.
Mother Nature Knows Best
Contrary to common belief, Vitamin C won’t cure the cold or keep you from contracting any infection like a cold. However, it is good to reduce the duration and severity of the cold. Don’t over-do the Vitamin C though, that can be even more harmful to your body.
For those who prefer natural remedies like a herbal supplement echinacea or zinc. The claims these can prevent colds or reduce the duration and symptoms are still up for debate, but there is no proof either way right now, so if they make you feel better, go for it. Ginger, green tea and honey are other all natural ingredients that are known for helping the immune system against infections and easing the discomforts of being sick.
It is a challenge to keep healthy during the cold and flu season, but it isn’t impossible. Following the tips we’ve listed and taking the proper precautions, you just may get through the next 6 months unscathed!