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How to Stay Healthy at Work - Avoiding the Spread of Germs and Bacteria

Updated on April 5, 2011

It has been seen time and again; one co-worker gets sick then it slowly makes it way across the workplace. It seems you spend an endless amount of time fighting off viruses and infections and not enough time being healthy. The good news is that a lot of these colds, flues, viruses and other illnesses can be avoided with just a few simple suggestions. So, if you are tired of the endless cycle of illness and ready find out how to stay healthy at work these tips can help you succeed.

Health Begins at Home

One of the most important steps, in how to stay healthy in the work place, begins at home. Germs, illness and contagious diseases all start somewhere. Don't be the cause.

Though you may not be able to take time off work to battle a cold, flu or other illness you can take precautions to avoid spreading it to others.

  • Make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can help you to identify the cause of your symptoms and instruct you on how to avoid passing it on to others.
  • Take all medications prescribed by your doctor for contagious conditions. It is important to finish medications, such as antibiotics, that are prescribed by your doctor - even if you feel better.

Doctor writing a prescription.
Doctor writing a prescription. | Source
Woman washing her hands
Woman washing her hands | Source

General Tips on How to Stay Healthy in the Workplace

There are several steps you can take that will help keep you and your fellow employees in good health both at home and at work.

  • Cover your cough. Preferably you should use a tissue or handkerchief but hand or sleeve will work as well. Coughs are a wide spread manner in which germs are passed from person to person and keeping it covered can help minimize the spread of illness causing germs and viruses.
  • Wash your hands regularly. Your hands come into contact with hundreds of objects, items and or people on a daily basis. You can only imagine how many germs you pick up or come in contact with. Those germs are then spread to everything that you touch. You can limit the spread of these germs and your chances of getting sick because of them by washing your hands with soap and water regularly. and or using a hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose. Any orifice on your body is a portal to your system. Through these means viruses, germs, bacteria and disease can make its way into your system. Since hands are one of the prime carriers of these you should avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose with your hands or any objects that come into contact with hands.

How to Stay Healthy at the Office

There are several things that can be done to protect yourself from germs and sickness in an office environment. The following tips are not only beneficial at the office but can help protect you at home or any where you may go.

  • Disinfect public and private use phones. Whether you are or are not the only one using it be sure to disinfect the handle, buttons, mouth and ear pieces of phones before and after use. This will help to protect you and fellow workers from the spread of germs and illness.
  • Clean your Keyboard and Mouse. Keyboards can be home to all sorts of nasty bacteria and germs that contribute to sickness. As with phones - it works to the benefit of everyone to disinfect keyboards and mice before and after use.
  • Disinfect all hard surfaces and furniture within your workspace that comes in direct contact with people. Germs can be passed through sneezing, coughing and touching but can be largely eliminated with regular disinfecting.

TIP: Disinfecting can easily be attained with the use of disinfectant wipes. These are widely available at most grocery and convenience stores.

How to Stay Healthy When You Work Outdoors

Working outdoors can expose you to colds, flues, viruses and other conditions that compromise your health in ways you don't have to worry about indoors. With an outside job one of your biggest health contenders can come in the form of the weather. This, luckily, may be one of the easiest contenders to work with.

When you work outdoors the 2 best ways to protect yourself from getting sick is to dress and prepare for the weather. This involves protecting yourself from all the elements: sun, rain, wind, snow, sleet and everything else mother nature has to throw at you.

How to Stay Healthy in the Sun

  • Begin by dressing the part and being equipped to be out in the sun. When the sun is blazing down proper attire should include: hats, airy clothing that covers skin, sunblock on any skin not covered and plenty of water to stay cool and hydrated.

How to Stay Healthy in Cold and Wet Weather

  • Layers play a big role when dressing for cold and wet weather conditions and can really assist in eliminating those unwanted sniffles and more. Layers should include long sleeve shirts (thermals are a great under clothing option), long pants, weather ready shoes (waterproof for rain, snow or sleet), hat and a coat or jacket suitable to protect you from the elements.
  • Vitamins are another important part of staying healthy during the colder seasons when your job takes you outdoors. Cold weather seasons are known for a higher number of colds and other contagious disorders. Vitamins and supplements such as vitamins; A, C, E, and zinc can help keep your immune system working properly and aid you in fighting off colds and flues that you find yourself unavoidably exposed to.

Most Common Illnesses Passed in the Workplace
Can it be Contracted through Airborne Particles
Can it be Contracted through Direct Contact
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    • rutley profile image

      rutley 6 years ago from South Jersey

      Very informative....thank you!

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 7 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      during this tough times, its important that we stay healthy. thanks for the useful information.

    • GetInTheKnow profile image

      GetInTheKnow 7 years ago

      Thank you. I am mother to 4 kids and use to work at a very public office. Between that and school it seemed we were always sick. That was until I started taking action and I swear it made such a big impact on how often we were fighting something off. :)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Great Hub! I wish more people followed your advice @_@