Thursday, February 08, 2007

Prevent Flu Germs at Work

Steps towards a cleaner, safer, flu-free workplace:

Have you thought about how many people have touched that lightswitch, doorknob, keyboard and pen? How many folks have put their face up to the phone receiver? I'm not trying to scare you, but since viri and bacteria are commonly passed through touching common items (or by having someone cough on them), it's way too easy for germs to gain the upper hand in an office environment.

The Canadian Health Website writes: "Viruses can live for up to 48 hours on the surfaces of toys, coffee makers, doorknobs, computer keyboards, and other hard surfaces. It can take up to a week for flu symptoms to appear, and in that time you can infect others. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, it's a good practice to wash your hands often with hot water and soap."

I like to also carry an antibacterial hand gel in my purse, and use this frequently during the day - especially after shaking hands (don't do this in their presence!). Lysol is nice to keep in your desk drawer for morning and post-lunch spray downs (someone might have used your phone, pen or computer while you were out).

Try to (quietly) keep a few feet of distance between you and your co-workers. Wash your hands after personal contact or using common items; use your own coffee mug and utensils. Use your own pen. Try not to touch your face a lot or rub your eyes - those fragile membranes are prime portals for those viruses to enter your body.

Honestly, I don't espouse germ paranoia, but during the flu season, it only makes sense to use preventative techniques. The recent flu viruses are worse than usual, lasting several weeks, decimating employees in their workspaces. Lots of those who are sick are even still working, contaminating everything they touch, sneeze and cough on. Don't catch it!

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