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Sick coworkers in the office? While it might be jarring to hear them sneezing and coughing all day, the office is also the perfect place to spread disease.
In fact, 80 percent of infections are spread through contact.
Shaking hands at the office may be the polite gesture, but it could be spreading the cold and flu around. And many of the most threatening things for your immune system are common items used in your everyday life. Common use items like telephones, elevator buttons, keyboards, and water fountains are overlooked when cleaning your work area. Yet, these surfaces can contain 25,000 germs per square inch. Our bodies are really great at fighting off most of these threats, over time we can get run down from repeated exposure.M/p>
Here are some simple tips to use in your workspace to keep it tidy and clean so you can avoid using your sick days.
Keep sanitation wipes handy
According to the CDC, these little towelettes are better at keeping you healthy than gel sanitizer. Keep your desk drawers stocked with wipes that contain at least 60 percent alcohol. The high concentration solution is better than washing your hands with soap and hot water.
To keep clean, wipe down your phone and keyboard before getting to work in the morning. Also, make sure to wipe down your hands before eating or touching your mouth.
NOT sharing is caring
Try your best not to share food or equipment with coworkers without wiping down first. There may be sickness floating around the office before the sneezes and sniffles, so just be wary about sharing equipment with your coworkers.
If you need to borrow a stapler, be sure to get those sanitation wipes before stapling. And if someone brings in a treat to share, wipe down all surfaces, and your hands before diving in.
Don’t forget about your water bottle
Bringing a reusable water bottle to the office every day is great for the environment. But it can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Refreshing your bottle with clean water every day will not cut it.
Thoroughly rinse your water bottle with soap and hot water a few times each week to reduce germ retention. Many doctors also recommend using stainless steel and glass containers over plastic bottles because they are less likely to release chemicals and harvest bacteria.
Steer clear of the communal dish sponge
The grungy, old sponge in the break room is harboring tons of bacteria. With everyone using the same sponge, it is exposed to all the germs in the office.
Instead, rinse your dishes off with warm water and wipe down with a paper towel. Once you get home either hand wash or put your dishes in the dishwasher.
If you're feeling a little sick, don't go into the office
Most importantly, if you are sick -- stay home. Not only are you putting your colleagues at risk for catching the same cold as you but you’re prolonging the duration of your illness. You don't want to be the sick coworker in the office, and you definitely don't want to be responsible for taking out half the office. Listen to the advice your mom gave you all these years and get some rest and eat some chicken soup. You’ll be better in no time.