Posted by Brian McCullough
We’re right in the teeth of the start of the flu season. Losing days to an illness is not only a pain in the neck, it can also wreck havoc with your best laid plans. After all, how can you play hooky next spring… calling in sick and spending the opening day at Wrigley Field… if all your sick days have been used up?
After the fold are the five simplest and easiest ways to keep the flu at bay at work this winter.
- Keep your work environment clean. This means, essentially, keeping some disinfectant wipes at your desk. Take some time this afternoon to wipe down your keyboard, your mouse, your monitor, your phone (keys and headset) and anything else you work with on a daily basis. Be sure to wipe everything down again if you share an item with a co-worker. In fact, try to avoid sharing those items with co-workers. Oh, and those phone headsets that are so popular these days? Consider putting that in a drawer for the winter. Those little foam mouth pieces are like germ sponges.
- Get a flu shot. That’s what they’re made for: to give you a fighting chance against this year’s flu model. Your employer might even pay for it.
- Wash your hands. Yes, it’s just what your momma told ya, but study after study shows the same thing. The single most effective thing you can do to stay healthy is you wash your hands regularly. After every sneeze and after every trip to the copy machine. Don’t be afraid about seeming paranoid. Wash after interacting with a sick co-worker. Keep purell around for post-handshake maintenance.
- Avoid co-workers who are sick. Don’t have lunch with them. Don’t share their stuff. There’s no reason to be mean about it; if you offer a polite “Don’t want to get sick!” now and again, they’ll understand when you don’t shake their hand.
- Go home. Don’t try to fight through it when you feel a cold coming on. It does you no good and it only endangers everyone else. You think you’re “being brave” by toughing it out for a few days. But all you’re doing is ensuring the germs are circulating through the office. Why not go home early, try to sleep it off and give yourself a chance of beating the illness instead of denying it until it lays you out in bed? Especially on Fridays. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve headed a cold off at the pass by going home early on a Friday afternoon and using the weekend to recuperate.
- Oh, and a bonus number six. Instead of coffee, have a glass of OJ in the morning. Vitamin C, baby.
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