How to Prevent the Spread of Germs in the Workplace

It is that time of year again when everyone seems to be passing germs around like a hot potato. In a perfect world, we could all hibernate inside of our cozy homes during the winter and keep the germs contained. However, many of us work around others all day, everyday. So what can you do to help prevent the spread of germs at your workplace?


U.S. Healthworks says that the first, and best, line of defense against the spread of both cold and flu is prevention. Many offices provide flu shots in-house, and most employees do not mind getting flu shots for work if it means preventing themselves (and their coworkers) from getting sick. And people are more likely to get a vaccine if it is convenient.

Avoid Contact

If you are sick, stay home! Your coworkers and your boss will thank you for keeping everyone else out of harm’s way. A sick person is contagious for up to seven days after they begin showing symptoms, so try to avoid contact with your coworkers as much as possible. If working from home is an option for you, take it.

Cover Your Mouth

The idea here is to cover your mouth so that your germs do not fly across the room and make your coworker sick. However, there is still a right and a wrong way to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. If you cover your mouth with your hand, you may be stopping the immediate travel of the germs in the air, but you are really just relocating the germs onto your hands. Doctors suggest coughing or sneezing into the inside of your elbow, or if there is a tissue nearby, use that.

Keep Surfaces Clean

This one may not have come to your mind right away. U.S. HealthWorks writes that Whether you or your coworkers are sick or well, it is a good practice to clean and disinfect shared surfaces, such as doorknobs, phones, and keyboards often to prevent the spread of infection. Prevention is the best way to avoid spreading colds and the flu, but it isn’t always possible. Therefore, it is helpful to create a work environment that encourages hand-washing and cleanliness at all times.

By taking the extra second to adhere to these suggestions, you are keeping yourself and your coworkers healthier. Get your flu shot before flu season. If you do happen to get sick, stay home and avoid contact with others! Always cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, and be sure to keep all work surfaces clean. This will be your best line of defense against the nasty winter germs!


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