You wake up on a Tuesday, and it hits you — a sore throat. Likely caused by post-nasal drip, you know it’s only a matter of time before the coughing and sneezing start. You take your temperature, and sure enough, you have a slight fever. You think, “I don’t have time to be sick!”
No one ever does! Our lives are busy and getting sick is a huge inconvenience.
The truth is, there are many simple things you can do that don’t take a lot of time and can pay off in the long run. And if you do get sick and can’t stay home, there are easy things you can do to stop your sickness from spreading to others.
Stop the Sick Before It Happens
The best way to keep yourself healthy is taking preventive measures. Here are some easy things to try now, before you get sick:
- Get the flu vaccine. According to the CDC, the single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated. IBX covers the flu vaccine and provides a list of facilities of where you can get one.
- Wash your hands. And do it more often. I’m talking more than just after you use the restroom. All sorts of surfaces can contain germs and viruses that can make you sick. Use hot water and soap, for at least 20 seconds.
- Stop touching your face. I’m very guilty of this. Unconsciously, we all touch our faces throughout the day. But try to be more conscious of it and avoid it because it spreads germs.
- Be a clean freak. Viruses live for hours on surfaces, so be sure to not only wipe down countertops, tables, and sinks but also disinfect them. You might want to disinfect cabinet and door handles, light switches, TV remotes, phones, and keyboards more often, too.
- Take care of YOU. This should go without question. You’re three times more susceptible to getting sick with less than seven hours of sleep a night. So, catch some consistent rest each night. Studies also show that if you engage in mild exercise 3 – 5 days per week, you’re more likely to fight off respiratory illnesses.
When You Have to Go to Work
You have a huge presentation to give, or you run your own business. Maybe you work at a school with no subs available, or you’re a stay-at-home mom. Whatever the reason is, calling out sick from work isn’t an option.
Truthfully, if you’re sick, you should stay home so that you can recuperate at home and so that you don’t infect others. But if you have to drag yourself into the office, be sure to:
- Wash your hands regularly. Remember you’re blowing your nose more often so you should try and wash your hands after you use a tissue. At the very least, use an antibacterial sanitizer after you use tissues.
- Cover your mouth. This should go without saying but cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. And try not to use your hands. Use a tissue or your arm.
- Keep to yourself. Meetings are unavoidable. But if you can help it, try and cut down your socialization. Also, avoid shaking hands.
- Wipe things down. If you happen to touch shared spaces, try and wipe it down. And if you use the water cooler or coffee pot, try not to touch anything directly with your hands. Use a paper towel or napkin as a shield.
These may sound a bit harsh, but taking these precautions is not only considerate, it also saves your coworkers from catching your sickness.
When You Should Stay Home Anyway
Sometimes you’ve done everything you can do to prevent getting sick, but it happens anyway. Certain symptoms are just not conducive to working, and it will be better off for everyone just to stay home. Watch out for:
- A fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Wet and persistent coughing
- Vomiting (a stomach virus)
- A rash or fever that is contagious
I wish you good luck and good health during this cold and flu season!