The colds and flu virus are among the most commonly transmitted because they can be airborne. With a small cough or sneeze, or even the sharing of utensils during a meal, it can already be transferred from one person to another. This article includes a list simple of ways to prevent the spread of the cold and flu in the workplace, including employee flu shots and frequent hand washing.
Prevention is Key
The first, and best, line of defense against the spread of both cold and flu is prevention. Many offices provide flu shots in-house, and most employees do not mind getting flu shots for work if it means preventing themselves (and their coworkers) from getting sick. And people are more likely to get a vaccine if it is convenient.
If you do find yourself getting sick, stay home from work. A person is contagious a full day before symptoms show up and up to 7 days after becoming sick. The CDC recommends that a person who catches the flu or a flu-like infection stays home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone.
Wash your Hands
The flu is spread through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or even talks. Washing your hands frequently, especially before eating can also help prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses.
Germs are commonly transmitted hand-to-mouth, when the person is eating, biting their nails, or mindlessly touching their lips. If frequent hand-washing isn’t an option, using hand-sanitizer can be a useful backup method. The majority of viruses enter the body through the hands into the mouth. If you haven’t recently washed your hands, it is best to try and keep your hands away from your face.
Cover your Mouth
If you have to cough or sneeze, be sure to cover your nose or mouth. It is recommended that you cover your nose or mouth with a tissue, but if one is not available, immediately wash your hands with warm water and soap after sneezing or coughing.
Keep Surfaces Clean
Whether you or your coworkers are sick or well, it is a good practice to clean and disinfect shared surfaces, such as doorknobs, phones, and keyboards often to prevent the spread of infection.
Prevention is the best way to avoid spreading colds and the flu, but it isn’t always possible. Therefore, it is helpful to create a work environment that encourages hand-washing and cleanliness at all times.
Good Health Habits for Preventing Seasonal Flu. CDC.
Seasonal Flu. Worker Guidance.