360° Coverage : Flu Season Etiquette: What You Need to Know About Sickness And...

2 Updates
Flu Season Etiquette: What You Need to Know About Sickness And The Office

Flu Season Etiquette: What You Need to Know About Sickness And The Office

Jan 17 2014, 11:45am CST | by

Flu season is upon us and employees who work in close quarters are particularly susceptible to the highly contagious illness. Why? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

34 weeks ago

Flu Season Etiquette: What You Need to Know About Sickness And The Office

Jan 17 2014, 11:45am CST | by

Flu season is upon us and employees who work in close quarters are particularly susceptible to the highly contagious illness. Why? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people with the flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away, mainly by droplets made when they cough, sneeze or talk. A person can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth or nose.

Chances are you sit within six feet of a colleague and touch dozens of contaminated surfaces each day. But the good news is, there are steps you can take at work to help reduce your chances of getting (or spreading) the flu. Here are 10 of them:

Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces. Viruses on surfaces like sink faucets and door handles can spread rapidly, especially in public places such as offices and schools, says Dr. Kelly Arehart, Global Innovation Manager for The Healthy Workplace Project at Kimberly-Clark Professional. “Cleaning surfaces with disinfecting wipes can reduce surface contamination on these germ ‘hot spots.’ Facilities that provide these and other tools to employees can make a difference.”

A study for The Healthy Workplace Project by Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona found that implementing the program’s “wash, wipe, sanitize” protocol in the workplace reduces the probability of catching the flu or common cold by 80%. It can also reduce the number of surfaces contaminated by viruses by 62%.

Wash your hands often. This is especially important before eating, after using the restroom and after being outside, Arehart says. Use soap and warm water for 20 seconds. “It is also important to dry your hands with a clean, fresh towel. Use instant hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.”

Get vaccinated. According to the CDC, an annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce your chances of getting the flu and spreading it to others.

Don’t wait until you or your colleagues are sick to start taking action. The reality is that most healthy adults can start infecting others one day before symptoms start to develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick themselves, says Bill Moffitt, the former chief executive of Nanosphere, a company that develops, manufactures and markets an advanced molecular diagnostic platform that produces quicker test results for the flu. “That means that you can start infecting others before you even know you’re sick.” Make a habit of washing your hands, cleaning your workspace surfaces, and using hand sanitizer all year round.

Take steps to prevent the spread of germs. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze and then throw the tissue away, Arehart says. “Try to use an anti-viral tissue, since some cold and flu viruses can live up to 24 hours on regular tissues.” Another way to prevent the spread of germs: Cough or sneeze into your elbow, she says. “One sneeze can spray up to 3,000 infectious droplets into the air at more than 100 mph. If you don’t have a tissue handy, use the inner part of your sleeve at the elbow.”

Wash your coffee cup with hot soapy water. If people around you are getting sick, the things that we drink from offer a quick way for germs to enter our system if they inadvertently become contaminated, Arehart says. “That cursory rinse isn’t enough to remove the contamination, so wash well.”

Stay out of the office kitchen. Most people don’t realize that office kitchens are often a breeding ground for the flu, Moffitt says. “Try not to share eating utensils, dishes and linens if possible. During flu season it’s best to use disposable products. If those aren’t available employees should wash everything thoroughly before they use it.”

Limit interactions with co-workers. Avoid shaking hands with people, Arehart says. “Few people will take offense if you offer the lighthearted response that with the flu epidemic, you’d rather be safe than sorry.”

You’ll also want to limit casual conversations with co-workers if there is a flu outbreak, Moffitt says. “And if a co-worker is showing signs of the flu politely ask them to go home if possible and if they don’t, try to keep your distance from them. People with the flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away.”

Maintain a healthy lifestyle. “Get plenty of sleep during the winter months,” says Peter Handal, chief executive of Dale Carnegie Training, an international training and solutions company. “Being well-rested is a great defense to avoiding getting sick.”

Also eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, stay hydrated, and exercise regularly.

If you get sick, stay home. If you do become sick with flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. “Work from home,” Arehart says. “Many companies are flexible with regard to where you work, so if you don’t have to go to the office, don’t.”

How do you know if you have the flu?

If you’re feeling under the weather you should call or visit your doctor–but you can also research common symptoms online.

“Many times people don’t differentiate the flu from the common cold,” Moffitt says. “But they are very different and need to be treated differently.”

Arehart agrees. “The flu is a respiratory infection that many people often mistake for a cold. The biggest difference between a cold and the flu is usually the presence of a fever which comes on suddenly.”

According to the CDC people who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or chills (although not everyone with the flu will have a fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

If you have flu-like symptoms, don’t go to work.

“Many times people underestimate how sick they really are and they don’t think about how their decision to go to work can potentially infect others,” Moffitt says. “Testing for the flu can help keep sick employees out of the office. If an employee knows he or she is infected they may be more likely to stay home because they won’t want to infect co-workers.”

Potentially infecting your co-workers isn’t the only hazard of going to work sick.

“You are distracted at work if you aren’t feeling well,” Arehart says. “This could lead to any one of a number of dangerous situations if you work with machinery or with your hands primarily (think bus driver and chef). In a traditional office setting, slipping and falling is one of the most common safety incidents and if you are weak from the flu, you are certainly at higher risk for a misstep.”

Handal says employees almost always feel like their responsibilities and obligations are so important that they are not entitled to even a well-deserved and needed break. “However, we encourage employees to take care of themselves when needed in order to ensure they continually perform their best.”

If you decide calling in sick is the right decision, here’s how to go about it:

  • Follow your company’s procedure for calling in sick. Find out if you’re required to call HR and/or your immediate supervisor, and contact them immediately, Handal says.
  • Try to give your employer sufficient notice, if possible. “Employees should make the decision to call in sick as early as possible,” he says. If you’re not feeling well at night, let your supervisor know you might not be able to come in the next day.
  • Notify your immediate supervisors and managers via e-mail and phone.  This ensures the message is received in a timely fashion, he says.
  • Always notify the people you work with on a daily basis and communicate your list of urgent to-dos. “If there is anything that needs immediate attention while you are out, hopefully your proactive communication will allow for speedy delegation and completion,” he says.
  • Use the time off to rest and recover. Don’t spend your sick day(s) worrying about work. Allow your body to recover and get well as quickly as possible.

Handal says an employee should always call in sick when the illness is still contagious and his or her productivity will notably decline due to the illness. “If an employee knows the quality of their work will be negatively affected due to their illness, it is best for all parties involved to call in sick.”

Follow me on Twitter, Forbes, and Google+.

This is an update of a piece that ran previously./>/>

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:

How To Share A Work Space

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

2 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,000 by 30 per ce ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

2 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH1 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

US media sees much at stake in Xi's India visit
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) As the US reiterated that it wanted India to have friendly relations with China, the US media suggested that there was much at stake in Chinese President Xi Jinping's ongoing visit to India.
 
 
NASA spacecraft to reach Mars this weekend
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) US space agency NASA said Wednesday its Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft will enter orbit around the Red Planet this weekend.
 
 
Russia's Gazprom to sign gas supply contract with China
Moscow, Sep 18 (IANS) Russian energy giant Gazprom have planned to sign a 30-year gas supply contract with China via the western route, the company's CEO Alexei Miller said Wednesday.
 
 
East African countries vow to preven Ebola
Nairobi, Sep 18 (IANS) Ministers of health, transport and immigration from five eastern African countries Wednesday vowed to strengthen measures that would prevent spread of Ebola virus in the region.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Justin Long coped with TV host's antics despite surgery
Los Angeles, Sep 18 (IANS) Actor Justin Long, who underwent hernia surgery last week, cooperated with Andy Cohen's antics on his show. Soon after the surgery, Long appeared on Cohen's late night show "Watch What...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
No truth in Anushka's marriage rumours
Chennai, Sep 18 (IANS) Refuting rumours that southern actress Anushka Shetty is getting hitched after she finishes working on S.S Rajamouli's Telugu magnum opus "Baahubali", her manager said that there was "no truth"...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Australian police raid terror suspects
Sydney, Sep 18 (IANS) Australian police and the nation's spy agency launched raids in homes in Sydney and Brisbane Thursday. More than 600 officers from multiple police departments swooped on homes in the early hours...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Ben Affleck admits to counting cards
Ben Affleck admits he was caught counting cards in Las Vegas in April. The 'Argo' star, who has three children, Violet, eight, Seraphina, five, and two-year-old Samuel, with wife Jennifer Garner, says he has been...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Iggy Azalea is suing her ex-boyfriend
Iggy Azalea is suing her ex-boyfriend, who claims to have a sex tape featuring the star. The Australian rapper has filed a lawsuit against Hefe Wine, accusing him of illegally downloading the entire contents of her...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
George Clooney to toast marriage with tequila
George Clooney plans to toast his upcoming nuptials with his own tequila. The 53-year-old actor's close friend and rumored best man Rande Gerber, who is married to supermodel Cindy Crawford, was spotted loading 100...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Beyonce, Jay Z working on new album?
Los Angeles, Sep 18 (IANS) Singer Beyoncé Knowles and her estranged husband-rapper Jay Z are reportedly teaming up to create a special album together. Karli Henriquez, vice president of Pop Programming at Dash Radio,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Mendes, Gosling cried after baby's birth
Los Angeles, Sep 18 (IANS) Actors Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling got so emotional after the birth of their daughter that they burst into tears. The couple, who have been dating since September 2011, reportedly overcame...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
House okay's Obama's plan to train, equip Syrian rebels
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) The US House of Representatives Wednesday approved President Barack Obama's plan to train and equip Syrian rebels as part of efforts to fight the Islamic State militant group. The chamber...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Pro-Britain, independence supporters put final efforts
Edinburgh, Sep 18 (IANS) Both sides in the Scottish referendum campaign have held rallies Wednesday as they make their final efforts to win over undecided voters, BBC reported. Independence supporters attended a mass...
Read more on Politics Balla