Four Pointers for Flu Season Etiquette at the Office

Ugh, it’s that time of year again! By now we’ve all heard the buzz about a particularly horrible flu season this year.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu can spread to other people about six feet away essentially by droplets made when they sneeze, cough or talk. Lovely.

In addition, as per a piece on Forbes, someone may get the flu by touching a surface that has germs on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

So when it comes to office space, we might as well all be germophobes considering all of the surfaces you share with your colleagues in close quarters. As for the good news, there are a few things to do to at least prevent spreading the flu at the day job.

1. Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces. As mentioned in the piece, viruses spread pretty quickly on door handles and sink faucets. Don’t expect a facilities employee to wipe down these locations in the evening; might as well get some disinfectant wipes on your own to focus on these office hot spots.

2. Wash your hands frequently. This is particularly important for job seekers shaking countless hands of interviewers and even more important if you attend a job fair. Even during the normal work day you should frequently wash. So, how long should you soap up your palms? The piece recommends 20 seconds will suffice.

3. Get vaccinated. The CDC says the annual flu vaccine either in a shot or the nasal-spray is the best way to decrease your shot of getting sick.

4. Be proactive; you may inadvertently infect others before you even know you’re sick. Bill Moffitt, chief executive at Nanosphere, a company that works with an advanced molecular diagnostic platform producing faster test results for the flu, told Forbes healthy adults may start infecting others one day before their own symptoms start to appear.

Moreover, this could be up to five to seven days after becoming sick themselves as well. “That means that you can start infecting others before you even know you’re sick.” You’re really not at fault if you have no idea you’re coming down with the flu so that’s why experts stress the importance of washing your hands frequently, cleaning workspace surfaces, and relying on hand sanitizer as well.

Bonus tip: This one’s a no brainer but if you’re sick please stay home.