By: Kim Barclay
It is now 2015 and everyone is back in the swing of work and school after the holiday break. The office where I work was closed the week of Christmas however my holiday break was ruined by illness. I was incredibly sick that week and I certainly didn’t want to give the gift of germs to people in my office when we returned to work. We are still in the middle of the cold and flu season and many of us don’t actually get sick, but we carry the germs and get others sick instead. In either case, it’s good practice to be proactive and courteous to your family and co-workers so that the spread of germs is minimized as much as possible.
Most people are educated and knowledgeable about the basic practices of prevent the spread of germs. Such as: wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer; sneeze or cough into your arm sleeve; refrain from touching people and so on. Through the years, I have found that some of the following measures are good practice as well, but aren’t as commonly thought of when one is ill:
- Change your pillow case every day and launder in hot water.
- Disinfect your toothbrush by soaking in anti-bacterial mouthwash such as Listerine®. You can also boil your toothbrush for 3 minutes.
- Use an anti-bacterial wipe on phones, computer keyboards and mouse, refrigerator/freezer handles, faucet handles, door knobs inside and out and even purse/briefcase handles.
- Use a drinking straw that can be discarded or change to a clean drinking glass often.
- Wipe car steering wheel and door handles.
We all have experienced someone that comes to work sick, and we are secretly thinking, “I wish they would not have come to work.” Sometimes, it can’t be helped, but it increases the potential to spread the illness around the office and therefore having more people call in sick and spread it at their home as well. There are precautions everyone can do to minimize the potential of spreading germs to our co-workers. In the office, there are common areas that everyone touches, and needs to be addressed with anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer:
- Copier, mail and fax machines: In my office we keep hand sanitizer by this equipment, and encourage employees to use the sanitizer before touching the equipment. Also, those who have been sick are courteous to wipe the buttons and keys after they have used it.
- Other communal areas such as office entry/exit and restroom door handles, faucet handles and if your office has a kitchen, the refrigerator and microwave handles.
- Don’t forget your own personal office space and equipment such as your office phone, keyboard and mouse, pens and file cabinets.
It can seem a bit over the top, but taking the time to employ these practices not only your home, but in your office as well, can help prevent the spread of germs and illness and keep everyone happy and healthy.
To learn more about how to prevent the flu, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.