Peak Flu season is among us. Some have been lucky enough to avoid all the sickness and germs lingering around—some not so much. Not only is this the prime time for the flu, but winter also holds extra risks of becoming sick with a cold. Whether you’ve been sick this season or not, it’s always important you follow all precautions to keep the dangerous bacteria and germs away. Workplaces are typically heavily trafficked making it hard to eliminate germs. While sickness is sometimes inevitable, follow this list to assure you are doing everything you can to stay healthy:

  1. Stay Home and Keep your Distance

This is an important thing to remember when eliminating germs in the workplace. If you are sick, entering the workplace and ignoring appropriate precautions is not only hurting you but everyone around you. If you take your sickness to the workplace, this increases the probability that someone else is going to get sick. Spreading sickness is not ideal, because the more people with the sickness, the more germs in the office for you to pick up again. Creating a cycle of sickness through your office is not ideal, so avoid contact with people if you find yourself feeling under the weather. Avoid shaking hands, touching common areas and make sure you are disinfecting as you go.

  1. Wash your Hands

Washing your hands thoroughly with hot water and soap is the most effective way to eliminate germs from your hands. The global handwashing partnership urges people to use soap when washing their hands because water alone cannot break down the natural oils and grease on hands that carry disease-causing germs. If you have problems with dry skin from excessive washing, keep lotion at your desk or in your work bag.

  1. Hand Sanitizer

When you don’t have access to a sink, hand sanitizer is the next best option. There are numerous forms of hand sanitizers for all situations—wipes, one-use hand sanitizer packets, sanitizer for your desk, sanitizing spray. All of these items fit perfectly in your pocket, purse, briefcase, etc. Hand sanitizer is a great way of instantly killing some of the germs on your hands, but the CDC recommends you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. According to the CDC, “Many studies have found that sanitizers with an alcohol concentration between 60–95% are more effective at killing germs than those with a lower alcohol concentration or non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers”.

  1. Disinfect Surfaces

Disinfecting surfaces is key to containing germs and ensuring that illnesses don’t spread. When one person gets sick in the office, another person is likely to follow. It’s smart to disinfect all of the surfaces/items that these individuals have come into contact with. For prevention, your office should be taking all of these precautions even before there is a reported case of sickness.

  1. Avoid Touching your Face

When you think about touching your face, it seems like a harmless thing that we all do… Until you think about all the things you touch throughout the day in your office—toilet seats, sinks, door handles, phones, your computer mouse. It’s probably not as harmless as we think. Would you want the same germs that are sitting on that toilet seat to be sitting on your face? Probably not, especially when stomach bugs and the flu are going around. It’s best to avoid all contact from your hands to your face to prevent spreading germs. Touching your face increases the risk of dangerous germs getting into your body, so it’s best to not do it at all.

The colder months hold higher possibility for catching a cold, flu or respiratory illness. Typically you spend more time indoors, in close corners with people, allowing sickness to pass easily from person to person. Make sure you are prepared and taking all the precautions necessary to eliminate germs and avoid the dreaded winter sickness.

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