How to Protect Yourself From Office Illnesses

Posted on October 8, 2015

Working in a shared environment can seriously impact your health. When flu season is around the corner, it’s smart to begin taking precautions to stay healthy. If possible, get your officemates on board to protect yourselves from office illnesses.

  1. Clean your keyboard. The average keyboard is home to millions of bacteria. In fact, a 2009 study conducted at an Australian university found that personal keyboards played host to E. coli and other potentially harmful pathogens. The more people who shared a computer workstation, the more bacteria-ridden the keyboard. Wipe down your keyboard every few days, or more frequently if it’s a shared space.
  2. Cover your cough. Coughing and sneezing projects bacteria-filled droplets into the environment. Encourage those around you to practice safe coughing and sneezing. Rather than sneezing into your cupped hands, tuck your face under your elbow. This limits the ability for hands to spread germs.
  3. iStock_000047296738_Small_3.jpgWash your hands before and after eating. If you’re not already in the habit of washing your hands frequently, flu season is a smart time to start. At our Long Island Medical Center, we recommend scrubbing hands with soap and hot water for at least 30 seconds before and after you eat.
  4. Get vaccinated. The annual flu vaccine is a smart way to decrease your chances of getting the flu. Even for vaccinated people who still contract the flu, the vaccine can make symptoms milder. Plus, there is a nasal vaccine option for people who dislike needles. Make an appointment at the Peconic Bay Medical Center to get your annual flu vaccine.
  5. Wipe down shared surfaces. It’s smart to have some alcohol-based disinfectant wipes on hand to keep shared surfaces clean. Every day or two, wipe down doorknobs, phones, desks and other spaces where germs may linger. Enlist your officemates to do the same, ensuring that all surfaces in your office stay germ-free.
  6. Clean that water bottle. Using a reusable water bottle is great for the environment, but dirty water bottles are a common source of nasty germs. Clean yours each day by adding a drop of dish soap, filling with hot water, and shaking to get the inner surface cleaned.
  7. Avoid rubbing your eyes. One of the most common ways to transmit germs is to touch your eyes or face. Cut back on rubbing your eyes or resting your chin on your hand to keep yourself safe from office germs.

If you do get sick this year, stay home and rest. Most flu symptoms naturally resolve within a few days.

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