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Cold and Flu Season Tips

Posted by M. Sparks on Jan 25th 2017

Cold and Flu Season

No one is safe when you hear that sickness especially the flu bug is running rampant in your office or facility. First Aid and Safety Online has compiled a few tips that can aid you in overcoming the workplace hazard of the flu bug and help you all to stay healthier and happier at work.

The most common way that people will catch the flu bug this year is from a co-worker. Research from the folks at the University of Arizona traced just how quickly that a virus could move through a building. Their findings have shown that one simple germy door knob can infect more than half of your office within four short hours… wow that is quick! Thankfully, there are many measures that you can put into place to halt the spread of viruses. Here’s that list:

  • 1)Wash your hands- this is the simplest and most easy way to stop bacteria and germs from spreading. See below in this article for more handy dandy handwashing tips.
  • 2)Do not touch your face- this is the number one way sure fire way for viruses like the flu to spread. If you touch a contaminated surface such as a (doorknob, keyboard, coffee maker etc.), be sure to wash your hands right away or use hand sanitizer if hand washing is not possible right away. Touching your face after being in contact with a germy surface is an absolute sure fire way to introduce your body to illnesses.
  • 3)Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough- a sneeze can propel up to 3,000 germs into the air at more than 100 miles per hour (now that is fast). Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or into your arm to keep those germs at bay.
  • 4)Keep your work area clean- research shows that most work desks can house over 10 million different bacteria on a given day and this amount multiplies many times over when the cold and flu season strikes. Try and wipe your desk down with an anti-bacterial wipe at least one time per day. By simply wiping down your work area you can greatly reduce the number of viruses’ on surfaces by 62 % and also reduce your risk of getting a cold by 80%.
  • 5)Get Outside and breath fresh air- the cold temperatures of winter make us all want to stay inside of a warm building. By staying inside and especially the typically close working areas of most offices you increase your chance of getting sick greatly. Try getting outside on your lunch break to get some fresh air.
  • 6)Stay at home if you are sick- If you happen to be one of the lucky ones to catch the cold bug know that the first 2-3 days are the most contagious days. The flu bug will keep you contagious for even longer. Even well before your symptoms begin to show you can pass the virus on to your co-workers. More reason to stay on top of cleanliness at work.

Four Signs that Show that you have the Flu Virus

  • 1)Someone at work or that you know has the flu- the flu virus is super contagious and can be spread by simply walking by someone who has the flu and sneezes (remember that sneeze droplets can propel over 3,000 germs at more than 100 miles per hour) or by touching a door knob or subway pole previously touched by a flu sufferer.
  • 2)You feel more tired than normal- this is one of the earliest clues that you may be coming down with the flu. Learn to listen to the clues your body gives you.
  • 3)Your muscles feel tired or sore- body aches and soreness is a good indication that you are coming down with the flu versus a cold as the cold virus typically does not cause sore muscles.
  • 4)You are running a fever- this is also a good indicator that you may have the flu. Most flu sufferers run around a 100 degree Fahrenheit or higher temperature. It is important to note that not everyone who has the flu virus runs a fever and also on the other hand not everyone who runs a fever will get the flu. Again, learn to listen to the clues your body gives.

Proper Hand Washing Techniques to Help Stop Cold and Flu Germs in their tracks

Cold weather brings in an array of cold and flu germs from our being inside more and in closer proximity with others during the winter months helps to spread germs more quickly. By keeping hands clean through good hand hygiene is an important way to avoid getting sick and spreading germs among our co-workers and family members. According to the CDC report on Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives:

When should you wash your hands?

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

How to properly wash your hands:

  • Wet your hands with clean running water
  • Lather your hands with soap and rub together. Be sure to lather the back of your hands, between fingers and under nails
  • Scrub for at least 20 seconds. (think of the birthday song and sing it twice to get in your full 20 seconds of scrubbing your hands to wash away the germs).
  • Dry your hands thoroughly using either a clean towel or air dryer. If you’re washing your hands in a public restroom, be sure to use a paper towel to turn off the faucet after you’ve washed your hands to prevent germs from touching your clean hands. Also, use that same towel to open the bathroom door as you exit.

No running water or soap available?

Use an alcohol or antiseptic based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. These type of sanitizers with 60% alcohol or more work to quickly eliminate the number of germs on hands in most situations, but they cannot eliminate all types of germs. Hand sanitizers will work until you can get to a sink with running water and soap. Washing with clean water and soap is always the preferred method of cleaning your hands and in the quest of preventing the spread of germs.

How to properly use hand sanitizers

  • Apply the hand sanitizer into the palm of one hand
  • Rub hands together to spread the sanitizer on all parts of your hands and in between your fingers
  • Continue to rub the sanitizer into your hands and fingers until your hands are dry

A few more tips to fight the flu

  • The flu vaccine is recommended yearly by the CDC as a very important step in protecting against flu viruses. The flu vaccine not only reduces flu illnesses as well as doctor visits, but also missed work and preventing hospitalizations from flu symptoms
  • Taking preventative actions in stopping the spread of germs is a little tricky, but we recommend you try and avoid close contact with sick people. This also applies to you, if you are sick limit contact with other to keep from spreading your germs. If you are sick with flu symptoms, the CDC recommends you stay home for 24 hours after your fever is gone, except for visits to a medical care facility.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; afterwards throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If water or soap is not available, use alcohol based sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This is one of the biggest ways to spread germs
  • Clean surfaces that may be contaminated with germs such as the flu to avoid the spreading amongst others

The peak of flu season lasts about 122 days and runs between December and March. We are reaching the half way mark~ try and follow these tips to help you to stay healthy this flu season! Be sure to share these flu fighting tips with your co-workers and family members as well! Remember that we are all in this together. 

First Aid and Safety Online is here to help support your efforts in keeping you and your workplace germ free. We offer a variety of hand sanitizers along with alcohol wipes and tablets to help take care of you in case you happen to come down with a cold or flu this season. Our Onset Forte tablets are for cold and hay fever relief, Decorel Forte tablets offer you multi symptom cold relief from the aches and pains associated with colds and flu and the ever popular Pain Zapper Tablets that will quickly take away the aches and pains that often are associated with cold and flu symptoms. 

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