Staying Healthy at Work
By Gary Picariello
I often feel like when I go to the office I’m queuing up in line at a bacteria buffet: So many people in such close proximity and each one with a different take on personal hygiene.
Who the heck knows if anyone is washing their hands or covering their mouths? It’s enough to make me sick. Literally! The good news is that you can protect yourself and others by following some simple common sense action steps:
Wash Your Hands
With soap and water that is! So simple it’s almost frightening. Scrub the hands, fingers and under the nails for at least 20 seconds and for sure wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose or using the restroom! And if you can’t wash, use an alcohol-based sanitizing liquid.
But it doesn’t stop there: Don’t be touching your nose, mouth, and eyes and then hanging all over your friends and colleagues. Germs are spread that way! Cover up and keep work spaces clean as well. That goes for keyboards, telephones, and doorknobs. If you need to use your coworker’s workstation in any capacity, clean it first!
An article on WebMD.com points out that flu symptoms can include “fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, tiredness, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.” These are not the type of gifts you want to keep giving.
The smartest strategy is almost the simplest: If you are sick, stay at home! That way you don’t risk getting other people sick. The problem is that no one believes you when you say you are sick in bed! It’s like being late for work because you really have a flat tire. If you are sick contact HR or get a note from your doctor. Otherwise keep your distance.
Another precaution is to get your annual flu vaccination.
Staying healthy in the office has a lot to do with hygiene but it also has to do with staying fit. If you’re trapped behind a desk all day, you need to get up and stretch. And eat light so the gravity of a big meal doesn’t pin you to your workspace.
Better yet, know yourself and know your limits. And try to work within those limits while performing your job. That means not ignoring the need to take breaks and, in the bigger scheme of things, taking a vacation.
Staying healthy in the office means tuning in both mentally and physically to what your body is telling you.