During cold and flu season, offices are often dangerous territory.  Viruses are easily transmittable when you’re working in close quarters with other people, and it can be almost impossible to avoid catching the germs of a sick coworker.  Thankfully, there are a few ways you can prevent cold & flu viruses from affecting the health of you and your coworkers.

Get A Flu Shot

Getting an annual flu shot is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself during cold and flu season.  Many pharmacies administer flu shots during this time, making them more accessible than ever.  Some offices even provide in-house flu shots, so your whole team can be protected from nasty flu viruses.  Employee wellness is something most employers take very seriously, so getting a flu shot can help prevent illnesses from traveling around your office.

Encourage Sick Employees To Stay Home

Coming into work while you’re sick is an easy way to spread the virus to the rest of the office, so make sure to use those sick days and stay home if you’re feeling under the weather.  This should also be extended to everyone in your office, and employees should feel comfortable using sick days when they are too sick to come in.  It is recommended that a person with the flu should stay home for at least 24 hours even after their fever is gone, so make sure to give yourself or any sick employees enough time to recover before coming back to work.

Wash Your Hands

Frequently washing your hands is another important way to prevent germs from spreading at work, especially during cold and flu season.  You may think that washing your hands after you use the bathroom is enough to ward off viruses, but it is important to wash your hands more frequently during this time, especially before eating.  Germs can be spread when someone sneezes, coughs, or even bites their nails, so make sure you’re being mindful of this and cleaning your hands with soap and warm water.

Cover Your Mouth

Covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough is a crucial part of preventing the spread of viruses.  A good rule of thumb is to cover your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, however, if one is not available then just make sure you thoroughly wash your hands afterward.  When you sneeze or cough and don’t cover your mouth, millions of tiny germs travel through the air and can spread to the people around you if they breathe them in.  Making a conscious effort to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough is an important part of preventing the spread of viruses, whether it’s cold and flu season or not.

Sometimes, catching a cold is inevitable, but by practicing these tips and making an effort to prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses, you can prevent your office from becoming a common cold petri dish.