The dreaded season is upon us: that coughing, sneezing, achy, don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed time of year. Except this flu season, we’re fighting COVID-19, as well. Talk about a double whammy.
With medical experts especially concerned over the possibility of catching the seasonal flu and the coronavirus at the same time, we should all be extra diligent about hygiene at the office and at home this year.
So what can you do to avoid contracting and spreading flu and COVID germs this season? We recommend following these measures to keep you, your colleagues and your immediate circle safe.
1) Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands
We touch dozens of surfaces each day that can spread germs, and frequent hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent catching viruses. If COVID-19 didn’t convince you earlier this year, now’s the time to become a hand-washing or hand-sanitizing king. Wash or sanitize after using the restroom, before you eat, after shaking hands, and after using commonly-shared objects, like the office coffee machine or white board markers.
2) Keep It Squeaky Clean
Start on the front lines by disinfecting your workspace and supplies with disinfecting wipes or spray each day. Clean all high-traffic surfaces, such as your desk, doorknob, phone, keyboard, and mouse. And remember: this isn’t only true at the office, but with shopping carts at the grocery store and the light switches at home.
3) Cover Your Mouth When You Cough or Sneeze
It sounds like such a simple measure, but those virus particles spread easily through the air – especially when indoors. Avoid glares from colleagues, and grab a tissue to cover your mouth before you cough or sneeze. Bonus points if you wash your hands immediately afterwards!
4) If You Feel Sick, Don’t Spread the Ick
It’s tempting to power-through the workday when you feel sick, but now is not the time to tempt fate. If you have a fever or feel flu-like symptoms coming on, stay home. No questions asked! Not only is it smart to stay home and get some rest, but your coworkers will thank you for isolating and containing the germs. The same goes for avoiding sick colleagues. If someone has been coughing or showing symptoms of the flu or COVID-19, steer clear. Toss them a box of tissue and tell them to head to bed!
5) Wear a Mask
Some businesses require a mask these days; some don’t. If you aren’t wearing a mask to work, now is a good time to start. Not only do masks protect you from inhaling virus particles, but they prevent you from spreading them. This extra precaution can help keep your office germ-free. No one wants to be known as Jerry-the-Germ-Spreader!
6) BYOP: Bring Your Own Pen
Bringing your own pen to the meeting will decrease your chance of using the icky pen someone left behind after absent-mindedly chewing on the cap. Yuck! Keeping clean pens, office supplies and essentials on hand (think coffee mugs, utensils, and snacks) decreases your chance of catching germs from others. High-five if your office disinfects commonly-shared items like pens, chairs, and conference tables after each meeting!
7) Embrace the Bump
Shaking hands is polite, and most of us were raised to believe a strong handshake is the gold standard. But it’s time we adopt new norms and adjust to changing times. That sign of affection can lead to infection. Instead, try the fist bump. It transfers about 90% less bacteria than a handshake (according to the American Journal of Infection Control). And it makes you feel about 90% cooler. Win-win.
Stay healthy out there, friends. And don’t forget to stock up on all your favorite germ-fighting sanitation and janitorial supplies at GOS.