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Is work making you sick? How to prevent the spread of the common cold in the workplace

11/01/2016

We all know how stubborn the common cold virus can be, once it gets into your office it can hang around for weeks being passed from one person to the next. Perhaps the office devices you use everyday are the the source of this snickness, draining your energy and affecting your overall productivity?

But could the devices in your office, the ones you use every day, be helping to keep that cold going? Things like phones, mice and keyboards, as well as the all-important coffee machine, are used constantly throughout the average working day and they could be incubating more germs than you realise.

Also, lots of offices have air conditioning, which is great, but as air conditioning works by removing moisture from the air, it can also affect the moist, protective layer in the nostrils, leaving it vulnerable to viruses.

When you catch a cold you are infectious from when your symptoms first appear until up to two weeks after. That's a long time for those germs to be spread around. But as most of us spend the majority of our working day surrounded by other people, what measures can we take to avoid catching a cold?

Regular hand-washing is a must in any environment where large numbers of people congregate, but you can't rely on everybody to do that, so hand-sanitiser is also vital. Think about all the common surfaces in your place of work; the door handles, the light switches, the phones and the office fridge door. Billions of germs are being passed around as you're reading this.

There are also things you can do away from the office to keep yourself fit and healthy. Getting plenty of sleep and exercise, as well as eating a healthy and varied diet, can help keep your immune system working as it should, helping you to fight off those viruses.

In an ideal world, everybody would be able to stay away from work for as long as they are sick, but we all know that realistically this doesn't happen. The best we can do in our fight to stay fit and healthy is to keep our offices clean, particularly in high-risk areas. So have a think about those printer buttons, and the keyboard that you eat your lunch over, and remember that the secret to a fit and strong workplace, is fit and strong employees, which in turn leads to a healthy business.

Cold at work



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