With cold and flu season well underway, taking care to avoid spreading germs is even more important now more than ever. While you probably can’t get Jerry from accounting to stay home when he’s got that nasty respiratory bug, you and your office mates can take steps to lower your chances of getting sick. To start, you need to know the germiest places in your office and take care to either avoid them or to use good infection control when you have to use them.
At Albemarle Square Family Healthcare, our staff of healthcare providers is committed to keeping you and your loved ones healthy. But on the chance that you do run head-on into cold season, our primary care physicians and nurse practitioners are available for acute care appointments. Call us today to make an appointment!
Did you know that common viruses can live on surfaces for a week or longer? Now that you do, here are the dirtiest places in your office!
You might be the only one who uses your keyboard, but think about this: what else did you touch before you touched your keyboard? If you took a phone call, went to the vending machine, opened a door, or got a cup of coffee, you’re bringing all the germs from those objects to your keyboard. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy, as well as disinfectant wipes, and be sure to give your keyboard, phone, and mouse a good swipe a few times a day.
The Break Room
We typically think of kitchens and break rooms as havens for cleanliness. However, the opposite is true. Your office mates probably don’t wash their hands before opening the fridge, pressing buttons on the microwave, using the vending machine, or using the faucet. So if they’re sniffling and touching their mouths and faces without washing hands after, they’re transferring their virus to those surfaces. Your chances of changing their habits might not be great, but you can take care in the break room by washing your hands after touching anything, and washing them again before you eat or drink.
Everybody has to touch the door handle and surface of the door to pass through, and you can bet they probably didn’t wash up or sanitize before taking a stroll through the office. If possible, use a tissue to handle door handles and knobs (this is a great habit to get into when using the bathroom!), and be sure to wash your hands or use your trusty sanitizer.
What You Can Do
You’ve probably picked up on the importance of washing up throughout the day. While it’s probably not practical to go to the sink for a full hand wash every time you touch a surface, you can keep a bottle of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes on you, which can kill up to 99% of the common bacteria and viruses we come into contact with. Here are some more tips to avoid catching a cold or stomach bug at the office:
- Don’t touch your face unless your hands are clean
- Eat a healthy diet, which will boost your immune system (don’t rely on vitamins and supplements—food is truly the best medicine!)
- Watch your stress levels—stress weakens your immunity, making you a prime target for infection
- Drink lots of water
- Avoid sick people, and if you are sick and can’t get time off, use a face mask and be sure to wash up even more than you might think is necessary
- Use a humidifier—the water particles actually catch bacteria and viruses that are airborne and the water’s gravity will pull them downward
- Get lots of sleep to keep your immune system healthy
- Breathe through your nose—it acts as a filter for germs
We hope that you stay healthy through cold and flu season, but if you’ve caught something that you can’t shake after a few days, give us a call to make an appointment. Albemarle Square Family Healthcare providers bring you family medical care in Charlottesville. When you need a primary care physician or nurse practitioner, we are here for you. Call us to make your appointment today!