Tips to avoid getting sick at work

    Many people at the office may be coming down with the common cold, the flu, bronchitis, whooping cough, or strep throat. This time of year might make you think that getting sick is inevitable because of how quickly germs spread. However, you don’t have to get sick! Here are some easy steps you can take to minimize your chances:

    • Wash your hands often. Stay on top of killing germs that you may have picked up from touching common areas, such as doorknobs and printer tables, by washing your hands throughout the day or by using an antibacterial gel.
    • Get plenty of rest. Insufficient sleep can negatively affect your immune system. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep per night. [1] Make sure to give your body the time it needs to repair itself while you sleep.
    • Eat healthy. When you get the vitamins your body needs, your immune system is able to fight off germs and viruses you may be exposed to. Taking a daily vitamin–such as zinc, vitamins A, B, C, D, and E–can also help you increase your strength and overall health.
    • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of non-caffeinated fluids can help ensure that you are hydrated. When you are dehydrated, it becomes more difficult for you to fight off an illness because water helps the body get rid of waste.
    • Exercise. Getting plenty of exercise not only increases your energy levels, but also helps strengthen your immune system and its ability to combat germs.
    • See your doctor. Seeing your doctor on an annual basis can help make sure you are up to date on all of your vaccines, including the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine as well as the annual flu shot. Vaccines enable your body to fight off highly contagious germs as well as control the spread of these dangerous illnesses.
    • Get outside. Fresh air is one of the secrets to avoiding sickness. Germs have a harder time surviving in the open air, so the more you can get outside, the better your chances are to battle germs.
    • Stay at home. If you do become ill, please stay home so you are not putting those you work with at risk of infection. Time off will also facilitate a faster recovery and provide an opportunity for more rest, which leaves you less vulnerable to future infections.

    When you take good care of yourself throughout the year, you can reduce the risk of getting sick at work.

    1. Mayo Clinic, “Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?,” http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lack-of-sleep/AN02065.

    Sources:

    Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “Why Exercise?,” accessed January 10, 2014, http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Patients_Visitors/pcs/nutrition/services/healtheweightforwomen/exercising/why_exercise.aspx?sub=1.

    Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “Why Water Matters,” accessed January 10, 2014, http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Patients_Visitors/pcs/nutrition/services/healtheweightforwomen/eating/basics/water_matters.aspx.

    CNN Health, “Secrets of women who don’t get sick,” accessed January 10, 2014, http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/02/health/secrets-women-preventing-sickness/.

    Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Combined Tdap Vaccine,” accessed January 10, 2014, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/combo-vaccines/dtap-td-dt/tdap.htm.

    Harvard Health Publications, “How to boost your immune system,” accessed January 10, 2014, http://www.health.harvard.edu/flu-resource-center/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.htm.

    Mayo Clinic, “Hand-washing: Do's and don'ts,” accessed January 10, 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hand-washing/HQ00407.

    Mayo Clinic, “Influenza (flu),” accessed January 10, 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/influenza/DS00081/DSECTION=prevention.

    Mayo Clinic, “Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?,” accessed January 10, 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lack-of-sleep/AN02065.

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