Cold and flu prevention in the workplace reduces the spread of illness between customers, clients, and employees, and can lessen the number of sick days. By following a few simple tips and tricks, you can protect yourself and others and help stop the spread of illness during the cold and flu season.
Wash Hands Frequently
Germs can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours, so it’s important to wash your hands after touching common surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, and company phones. Run warm water in the sink and wet your hands. Apply a small amount of soap and wring hands together to form a lather. Wash the hands thoroughly by rubbing them together for at least 30 seconds and then rinse with warm water. Use a clean disposable towel to turn off the faucet and dry your hands. If you don’t have time to wash your hands often, clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Disinfect Common Surfaces
Don’t rely on hand-washing alone. Clean common surfaces with disinfectant cleaning wipes, or use a disinfectant spray to wipe down counters and other surfaces at least once a day. Supply employees with wipes for their work area, and encourage them to wipe down keyboards, phones, and other shared items often. A simple solution for disinfecting bathrooms and breakrooms to kill the flu virus is by mixing together a half a cup of bleach to a gallon of water. Apply enough of the solution so that the surface stays wet for at least five minutes. Rinse clean and allow it to air dry.
One of the single most effective ways to prevent the spread of flu is by obtaining a flu vaccine. As an employer, you can hold an on-site flu shot clinic to allow employees to conveniently get a shot during business hours. Schedule the clinic as early in the flu season as possible because it can take up to two weeks for the protection of the vaccine to become effective.
Encourage Employees to Stay Home
Create a work atmosphere where employees aren’t afraid to stay home when they are sick. Staying home also helps an individual recover quickly and minimizes disruptions at work. Also, an individual who is sick is less productive.
Prevention is often the best way to help prevent the spread of colds and the flu. Create an environment that encourages prevention to keep employees healthy throughout the season.