People spend nearly a third of their day at work and germs spread much more quickly in an office space than most people realize. In fact, one of the most common ways people will get the flu this year is from co-workers or a classmate. Researchers at the University of Arizona traced how quickly a virus moved through a building and found that just one germy doorknob can infect more half your office within four hours- yikes! Fortunately, there are effective yet easy measures you can take to help prevent the spread of illness - no biohazard suit required. Already feeling under the weather? See a doctor now and get diagnosed faster than you can read this article.
Wash your hands.
Hand washing is the easiest way to prevent bacteria from spreading. Washing hands frequently during the day, or keeping a hand sanitizer handy (no pun intended), is an important step to avoid getting sick in the first place or passing it on to other.
Quit touching your face.
The primary way viruses, like the flu, spread is through touch. If you touch a contaminated surface (doorknob, keyboard, water dispenser, coffee maker) then unconsciously scratch your nose, before you know it, you’re sick. Limit your exposure to viruses by keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
Cover your mouth.
Do you feel a sneeze or cough coming on? Always cough or sneeze away from others and and either into a tissue or into your arm, dracula style. One sneeze can propel up to 3,000 germs into the air at more than 100 MPH. Take that, Jeff Gordon.
Keep your workspace clean.
Need a reason not to work at your desk? A recent study found the average desk is home to 10 million bacteria, many carrying the cold and flu virus. And if you really want to push for that sick day, hit the break room. The break room is the #1 filthiest place in the office. You ideally want to wipe your desk down at least daily, not monthly.Flu viruses can survive on ordinary surfaces for up to 8 hours. By commonly wiping your desk with a disinfectant wipe, you can reduce the number of viruses contaminated surfaces by 62% and reduce your likelihood of getting a cold by a whopping 80%.
Take a quick walk every 2 hours.
In the modern office environment, people find themselves hunched over, sitting at their desk, typing excessively, immobile for hours. Despite these conditions, it’s important to keep the body as active as possible to prevent illness and boost your circulation, metabolism and immune system.
Feeling sick? Know the symptoms.
The cold and flu have similar symptoms (congestion, coughing, sneezing and stuffy nose). The big difference between the two? A high fever and all-body aches are part of the flu package deal and the flu comes on much faster than a cold typically does. Print out this infographic and hang it on your bulletin board to be "in the know" when it comes to the flu, just beware of co-worker envy.
Follow “stay at home” policies.
If you catch a cold, you’re most contagious during the first 2 to 3 of getting it. If you get the flu, you’re contagious almost immediately and for about 5 days after that. Even before symptoms develop, you can pass the virus on to others.
Know when to see a doctor.
Signs you should see a doctor are listed here. Keep in mind that that doctors on Amwell have helped hundreds of patients steer clear from the doctor’s office and get the care they need fast. With doctors available 24/7, Amwell can provide care even quicker than you can google-search “Do I have the flu?”