It’s that time of year again…people with coughs, sneezes and runny noses seem to be lurking around every corner.
While the flu shot is the number one recommended way to prevent the illness, you can combat the spread of the flu virus by practicing basic hand hygiene and other tips around the hospital or at the office. Handwashing is a simple, effective way to combat germs, and the CDC says it is one of the best ways you can prevent against illnesses such as the cold or flu.
When at work…
Germs can enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth – all areas that we often touch without even realizing it. In the workplace, we must be extra careful as germs can get on objects that you regularly touch: hand rails, door knobs, countertops, etc. Offices can be a hot spot for germs and bacteria, including telephones and smart phones, copiers, water coolers, microwaves and coffee machines. Cleaning your hands regularly can get rid of the germs you pick up from other people, or even everyday objects that you touch. Here are some other tips you can use in the workplace:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Take advantage of the hand sanitizers in the elevator banks
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Use disinfecting wipes to clean your workspace
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and keep your distance when you are sick to protect others
- Most importantly, if you have signs or symptoms of the flu, do not go to work, consult your healthcare provider and get the treatment that you need to feel better.
Dr. Joseph Flagge is the Medical Director of the Emergency Room at North Shore Medical Center.