It’s that time of year, when people get together more — at work and school functions, parties, and holiday events — which is lots of fun, but also makes it easier for germs to get around. Here are some tips to help you avoid colds and flus (or if you are sick, to avoid passing your illness on to others).
1. Get your flu shot in advance of the holidays
It takes two weeks for the influenza vaccine to become effective in your body, so don’t wait until flu season is in full swing to get your flu shot!
While flu vaccination is not 100% effective, think of it like wearing a seatbelt… those aren’t a 100% safety guarantee either, but you still wear them!
2. Hand hygiene is crucial in warding off the germs!
Throughout our day, we touch all kinds of surfaces that other people have touched too: door handles, elevator buttons, ATM machines, shared computer stations, food trays, and more. Anyone sick will likely have left their germs on those surfaces, so you’re picking up invisible germs all day. That’s why it’s so important that you properly clean your hands before eating and before touching your mouth or eyes (yes, the common cold can get into you via your eyes!) You want to protect yourself and prevent passing those germs on to your patients, residents, or clients.
3. Keep your distance from anyone coughing or sneezing
There’s always that one person who shows up to a party sick, and unfortunately there’s not much you can do about it, except… stay away from them! At work, if one of your colleagues shows up sick, you can kindly suggest they go home to take care of themselves.
4. Be careful with food preparation, and beware ‘shared’ foods!
Cold and flu germs don’t live inside food, but people can transfer germs to the surface of food if they don’t wash their hands properly. Clean your hands thoroughly before preparing any food, even if you’re not sick (remember, your hands can have picked up germs from any surface that other people may have touched – even the refrigerator door handle).
If you’re at a social gathering with foods that are directly touched by people – e.g. bowls of potato chips or popcorn – it’s best to avoid those, and head for the food that has serving tongs! (Really, do you want to eat out of a bowl that 30 other people have put their hands in?)
5. Stay home when you’re sick
This rule won’t stop you getting sick… but it will prevent others from catching your cold or flu. Don’t be that one person that shows up at a party coughing and sneezing! The same goes for work… no one likes leaving their colleagues short-staffed, but it’s better they’re short-staffed by one (you!) than by a dozen (when more people get sick)!
Everyone at PICNet wishes you a happy and HEALTHY holiday season!