7 Tips For Avoiding The Cold Season at Work –

Was that a sneeze you just heard? Who’s coughing? Is that constant sniffling about to drive you crazy? Oh, the wonderful sounds of cold season. If you work at an office, you probably understand the sequence of events that typically takes place. One person has a minor cold, then suddenly everyone’s coughing and sneezing and aching, until everybody but the original sick person has to take at least one day off to get over their symptoms. It’s not a pretty picture. Luckily, there are ways to avoid falling victim to yet another cold passed on by a coworker. Use these seven tips and this cold season could be your best yet.

  1. Wash your hands:

    Of course you know this, but do you actually do it? Washing your hands is an easy way to keep illness away; it eliminates the germs you’ve gathered there so you don’t infect yourself when you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before eating or putting in contacts and after using the restroom, touching an animal, or coughing or sneezing into your hands. Also avoid touching your face as much as possible to keep from spreading the germs that accumulate between washings.

  2. Disinfect shared items:

    Think of all the grimy hands that touch the items around your office every day (and remember that not everyone washes their hands like you do). Pretty disgusting, right? So why not get rid of some of those germs by regularly disinfecting? The cleaning staff at your office may clean some areas, but take it upon yourself to make sure the germiest places are taken care of. Pay careful attention to breakroom faucet handles, microwave door handles, keyboards you touch, the refrigerator door, and water cooler and vending machine buttons.

  3. Stay away from sick people:

    The best thing to do when you’re sick is to stay home, but not every employee feels like they can take a sick day, especially for a minor cold. So that leaves you with a handful of sick coworkers several times a year. The best thing you can do for yourself is avoid them as much as possible until they’re feeling better. Don’t eat or take breaks with them, and keep your distance when interacting with them for work purposes. Explain to them that you don’t want to catch their cold and they’ll understand, especially when you do them the same favor the next time you get sick.

  4. Exercise:

    Working out regularly can actually get you in shape for cold season. Consistent, moderate exercise makes your immune system stronger by reducing stress hormones that weaken the system. Try something that raises your heart and breathing rates moderately, like walking, biking, or swimming. Working out too hard, though, can actually make you more susceptible to illness, and working out while you’re sick can cause your symptoms to worsen.

  5. Eat the right foods:

    While you should be eating healthy all the time (but who has the time for that?), there are certain foods that can boost your immune system when you notice that cold going around the office. Yogurt with probiotics is said to increase your white blood count, which helps your immune system function. Fish also helps your white blood cells, as well as protecting your lungs from infection. And everybody’s fall favorite, pumpkin, can help create Vitamin A.

  6. Take your vitamins:

    Speaking of vitamins, make sure you’re taking some of the most important ones for immune system strength. Whether you take them in pill form or just drink Airborne for a few days, vitamins are essential if you’re serious about not getting sick. Give yourself vitamins C, E, and A, as well as Zinc and Omega-3 Fatty Acids for the best chances of staying well this cold season.

  7. Get some sleep:

    Are you a night owl that routinely functions on fewer than five hours of sleep? It could be hurting your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to colds and other diseases. Plan to go to bed earlier each day when you notice more hacking and sneezing in your office to give your body a little extra staying power.