A recent online survey by Cintas Corporation found that 84 percent of employed adults admit to having ever gone to work while sick. And what’s worse is that almost half (45 percent) who have ever gone to the office sick make no attempt to warn others of their illness – making it easy to pick up a bug from coworkers.
Cheryl Luptowski, public information officer at NSF International shares these tips on how to avoid getting sick at work.
Beware of common items. A Kimberly-Clarke germ study found that the germiest places in offices were sink faucet handles in the break room, microwave door handles and your office keyboard. Wipe down your workspace on a daily basis using a disinfectant wipe and remember to wash your hands after touching common items like the refrigerator, microwave, door handle and faucets.
Wash your hands. Just because you’ve been sitting at your desk doesn’t mean you haven’t picked up any germs. Make an effort to wash your hands before eating, after reading magazines in the break room and after meetings where you’re sharing office equipment or shaking hands with people. Remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and teach children the importance of proper hand washing (scrubclub.org) to help stop the spread of germs.
Stay hydrated. Keep a glass of water at your desk to help stay hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration combined with a lack of sleep and stress compromises your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illness. Keep a jug of water at your desk. If you’re getting bored with just water, throw in a slice of lemon or try some herbal teas.
Make your new officemate a bottle of vitamins. If you’re feeling under the weather, consult your health care provider about taking a supplement such as Vitamin C or Zinc. Look for NSF certified supplements when buying vitamins to ensure what’s on the label is what’s in the bottle.
Don’t touch your face. When you’re pre-occupied or stressed at work, it’s easy to rub your eyes and bite your nails or even pens. All of these items carry germs and by touching your eyes, nose and mouth you’re giving germs direct access to your body and further compromising your immune system. Make a conscious effort to not touch your face during the work day and if you have to, be sure to wash your hands before doing so.