Getting sick is the pits, especially when the weather’s getting nicer outside. It’s extra awful when you’re stuck at your cool-looking office with ill teammates who contaminate the shared healthy work snacks and basically every single surface. To combat that pesky flu that always seems to be floating around, we talked with board-certified family physician Dr. Tiffany-Lowe Payne about how to stay healthy. Scroll on for her tips for avoiding the next virus that sweeps your office.
1. Wash your hands often. It’s a sure bet that you’ve heard this piece of advice countless times, but washing your hands IS one of the best ways to avoid getting sick. Make the most of your hand washing by loading up on soap and washing for at least 20 seconds. Afterwards, rinse them under clean running water and dry off with a clean towel (air drying is a good option too!). If you can’t get to a sink, hand sanitizer has actually been shown to be as effective — as long as it is made up of at least 60 percent alcohol.
2. Guard your face. Tiffany tells us, “When you’re at work, especially in the height of cold and flu season, be mindful about how often you touch your eyes, nose and mouth, as these are the main avenues to introduce germs into your body.” Tiffany says this is extra important if you bite your nails, as the area under nails is an ideal place for bacteria to thrive.
3. Hold your breath. Tiffany asks, “Did you know that when someone sneezes or coughs, they release a host of droplets that can travel up to four feet in virtually seconds?” Yikes! If you’re forced to sit next to a sick co-worker, she suggested trying to hold your breath for 10-15 seconds following your coworker’s cough or sneeze, to fully allow for the cloud of bacteria to disperse into the air.
4. Step outside. When we close our windows at work to avoid the weather, we naturally have to share the inside air with whoever is around us — which Tiffany says is one of the most common reasons people get sick at work so often. If you can, try to open the windows even if just for a small part of the day, to allow fresh air to come in.
If you don’t work in a place that has windows, take whatever opportunity you have to get outside. Tiffany tells us, “This is not only a great way to clear your head and re-focus if you’re having a particularly stressful day, but it’s also a great way to clean out your sinuses and get rid of all the bacteria that may be settling in your nose, as those are the culprits that can make you sick.”
5. Get vaccinated. Tiffany wisely notes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Time and again, studies have proven that vaccinations not only save lives but can prevent illness, disease and ultimately improve our quality of life.” She says that the influenza vaccine is still considered one of the best preventative measures that you can take to avoid getting sick, so go get one!
6. Focus on your overall health. Tiffany points out that preventing yourself from getting sick ultimately starts way before you walk into your office. She says, “The things you do from day to day to stay healthy are extremely effective in helping you avoid falling prey to the viruses and bacteria floating around the office.” To keep yourself in germ-fighting form, make a thoughtful effort to eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly without overdoing it, get 6-8 hours of quality sleep and live a well-balanced life.
How do you stay healthy at the office? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
(Photos via Getty)