Working safely together


Stopping the Spread of Germs at Work

Illnesses like the flu (influenza) and colds are caused by viruses. Flu and cold viruses spread from person to person by way of coughing, sneezing or simply talking. Droplets from an infected person get into the air and are inhaled by people nearby. Anyone within three feet can easily be infected. Start by learning healthy habits that can help prevent you from getting infected or spreading flu and cold viruses at home, school, or work. Take these precautions even if you don’t feel sick. You could be infected and able to spread germs 24 hours before your symptoms begin.

How to Help Stop the Spread of Influenza

• Maintain your health to keep your immune system in good shape.

• Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.

• Clean your hands often. Use soap and warm water — then rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces. Wash for 20 seconds. It is the soap combined with the scrubbing action that helps dislodge and remove germs. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. But soap and water are the best!

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs can live for a long time (some can live for 2 hours or more) on surfaces like doorknobs, desks, and tables.

• Get your flu shot. While it’s not pleasant, it’s much better than coming down with the flu, which can linger for weeks, and in some cases it can even be fatal. The CDC recommends that everyone six months or older get the vaccine.

• Don’t share utensils or drinks.

• Stay home when you are sick and check with a health care provider when needed.

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious food, and lastly get your flu shot! Practicing healthy habits will help you stay healthy during flu outbreaks and all year long.