Achoo! Workplace etiquette during flu season.

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Happy New Year!  Here’s hoping that 2018 brings sunshine, new experiences and new friends into your world.

As I am writing this blog, the sun is shining (yeah) and the temperature is rising – 12 degrees and rising (watch out- a heat wave)! Although we are expecting warmer temps this weekend, we all know that winter is not going away for a while yet – after all it is Columbus, Ohio. So….. with that in mind, thought it would be good to share some etiquette tips on good health as we are in the middle of a major flu epidemic.

Congratulations if going to the gym to work out. 
Awesome that you are commited to taking better care of yourself.

But please if you are not well, wipe down the equipment after you use it.  A recent study revealed that over 2,000 different bacteria were discovered on a treadmill after a workout – yikes!

If you are sick:

  1. Stay home! If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, recommends the CDC. Besides the fact that you’re minimizing the spread of germs, you’re getting the rest you need to get rid of the flu bug.
  2. If you must venture out of the house, refrain from shaking hands with anyone. If someone offers his or her hand, simply say, “I’m sorry, I’m not feeling 100 percent today. I don’t want to get you sick.”
  3. Avoid sharing confined spaces with fellow employees, if there is a flu outbreak at your office. If you must have that meeting, suggest conducting it via the web instead of a small (confined) conference room.
  4. If you have to sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. Dispose of the tissue and wash (or sanitize) your hands immediately. Handkerchiefs are not sanitary, especially if you use them and then put them back into your purse or pocket for re-use later. If a tissue is not available, sneeze into your elbow rather than your bare hands.
  5. Avoid using your colleague’s computer, mouse, phone, pens or anything else that they would handle with their own hands.
  6. It’s more important than ever to wash your hands often. Scrub your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

If you are well, but work in close proximity to someone who is sick:

  1. Germs can easily enter your system through your eyes, mouth and nose—any time of year, so it’s important to keep your hands away from your face. This can be a tough habit to break, but if you can train yourself to not touch anything above your neck, you will minimize your risk of getting sick.
  2. This goes without saying, but whenever you’re in a public place, make it a habit to wash your hands, often. Proper hand washing is the best way to reduce the spread of germs.
  3. Keep sanitizers handy – and use them. Wiping down the office hotspots – such as your keyboard, desktop and doorknobs –will kill those germs that are just waiting for you. Keep a spray bottle at your desk and a packet of wipes with you at all times.
  4. Wash your coffee cup with hot, soapy water. A quick rinse isn’t going to remove any contamination from germs floating around your office.
  5. Use disposable as opposed shared eating utensils, dishes and linens in the office kitchen. You never know quite how clean those re-used items are.
  6. Keep your distance! Limit your interactions with a coworker who comes to the office sick. A person who has the flu can pass it on to you as far as six feet away.

Wishing you good health in 2018! 

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Executive Image Consultant, Author, Speaker

Professional Imagery, LLC

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