With one of the worst flu seasons in history under way, it is critical employees take the necessary steps to avoid getting themselves, or others, sick.
A recent study found that 84 percent of employed adults have gone to work while sick, and nearly half of those employees make no attempt to warn others of their illness.
In order to stay healthy, NSF International Public Information Officer Cheryl Luptowski advises employees to follow some simple guidelines, including:
- Beware of common items: Studies have shown that germiest areas in offices were sink faucet handles in the break room, microwave door handles and keyboards. Employees should wipe down their workplace with a disinfectant on a daily basis, as well as wash their hands after touching common items like the refrigerator, microwave, door handle and faucets.
- Wash hands: Workers needs to make an effort to wash their hands before eating, after reading magazines in the break room and after meetings where they're sharing office equipment or shaking hands with people. Hands should be washed with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Stay hydrated: In order to avoid dehydration, which when combined with a lack of sleep and stress compromises an immune system, employees should keep a jug of water at their desk.
- Vitamins: When workers start to feel under the weather, they need to consult with their health care provider about taking a supplement such as vitamin C or zinc.
- No touching: Employees must make a conscious effort to not touch their face during the workday. Touching eyes, noses and mouths gives germs direct access to the body and further compromises the immune system.
NSF International is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides standards development, product certification, auditing, education and risk management for public health and the environment.