Flu season arrived early this year and if you’ve managed to avoid the flu so far, you’ll want to prevent getting sick at all costs. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, between October and now, there have already been up to 18 million cases of the flu and 8.5 million resulting medical visits.
Use these tips to make sure that’s a statistic you’re not a part of:
The flu shot is super helpful when it comes to staying healthy during flu season. It protects against four strains of flu virus, significantly decreases your chance of getting sick, and, on the off chance you come down with the flu in spite of getting the vaccine, it can reduce the severity of your symptoms. And no, getting your flu shot won’t make you sick. Flu vaccines are made with inactivated flu viruses or proteins from a flu vaccine virus, neither of which will make you come down with the flu.
Hopefully, you guys are doing this anyway but it’s a good time to remind you to wash your hands often. Scrub your hands for 15 - 20 seconds using soap and warm water to rid them of any germs. Though it’s recommended you wash your hands every time someone who’s sick coughs or sneezes around you, we know that’s not always doable. Instead, you can keep some hand sanitizer or alcohol-based wipes on hand. As long as the sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol, it’ll be effective until your next trip to the sink.
This one seems like another no-brainer but, again, a gentle reminder never hurts. Keeping shared spaces clean is a helpful way to prevent infection - both at work and at home. This means disinfecting tables, keyboards, and phones. It also applies to cleaning buttons and handles of appliances in common areas, like microwaves or refrigerators in break rooms and kitchens. A little box of disinfectant wipes can go a long way, especially when it means not getting sick.
If you do all that and you still get the flu, first of all, we’re sorry. But seriously, if you have the flu, the most important thing you can do for yourself and your coworkers is to stay home. Although the flu is incredibly common, it can pose a serious risk to elderly people, children, and individuals with compromised immune systems. If you contract the flu, you’ll be infectious for about a week after your symptoms show, so do yourself (and your coworkers) a favor by staying home, resting, and maybe catching up on the latest Netflix release.
May the odds be ever in your favor!