Health

6 Ways to Prevent the Flu from Wiping out Everyone in Your Workplace

The CDC identifies February as peak flu season. Do you know how to protect yourself from getting sick or spreading the flu?

ATTN: gathered tips for avoiding the flu and infecting your coworkers from iJet Risk Management and from physician Neha Nanda, a clinical associate professor of medicine at Keck School of Medicine.

"We employ these same tips throughout our health system, where curbing influenza is critical for the safety of both our patients and employees," Nanda said. "These are excellent and effective ways to preventing the spread of influenza, as well as other infectious diseases."

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Here are six quick and easy tips to keep the flu from wiping out you and your entire office.

1. Know your flu symptoms

Seasonal influenza symptoms can include coughing, fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle and body aches, fatigue, chills, and vomiting and diarrhea.

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2. Cough and sneeze properly

Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to cough and sneeze. If you're not going to use a tissue, then cough or sneeze in your "elbow or upper sleeve area," iJet's health team recommended.

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3. Wash your hands (thoroughly)

There's a proper way to wash your hands to ensure they're fully clean. At minimum, you want to wash your hands for 20 seconds. The best is the six-step hand washing method recommended by the World Health Organization.

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4. Clean frequently used workplace items

Be sure you wipe down phones, photocopy machines, doorknobs, refrigerator handles, and anything else that gets used often in a high-trafficked area. You don't have to go overboard, but keep your workplace and your work area clean.

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5. Get your annual flu shot

iJet suggested hosting a flu vaccine clinic in your office or, at the very least, being flexible with employees to allow them some time to get flu shots. If you travel often, you may need two flu shots per year, iJet said.

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6. Be flexible with employee leave (or encourage your boss to be flexible)

If you're sick, the worst thing you can do is go to work. See if you can work from home if you can't get time off.

Don't be the employee who thinks that going to work with a contagious illness makes you a hero.

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The flu can spread quickly, so be prepared to hunker down and take care of yourself. It's the best way to stop the flu before it spreads.