Our workplaces are often prime breeding grounds for various illnesses such as the influenza virus. There are basic ways to prevent the spread of illness at work, but high pressure situations often push us to meet deadlines and stick it out through important projects while working in close quarters like cubicles, elevators, bathrooms, as well as shared items such as vending machines, phones, and computer peripherals.

If you think you are sick, but just can't afford to miss a day at work, consider doing your main projects at home. If that is something that is not feasible, make sure to avoid contact with others as much as possible-even though it sounds ridiculous, wear a mask to prevent airborne droplets spreading and keep yourself in a closed off room from others.

The best thing anyone can do about the flu-just like any other illness- is prevent any chance of getting it in the first place. While it's suggested that those who work with numerous people in small spaces get the flu vaccine, there are several other ways to protect ourselves when the flu shot just isn't available. Follow these tips to keep the flu virus at bay:

  • Always strive to stay home in bed-and away from others- if you know that you are sick with the flu. This is the most basic way to stop the spread of this possibly dangerous illness.
  • Although this is something we have all heard before, getting plenty of rest, eating a healthy balanced diet, and vitamins help out body's immune system stay strong and fight off impending illness.
  • Another common fact that has been taught to us since our childhood-always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue away and wash your hands as soon as possible. This is the easiest way to prevent the spread of the germs if you absolutely have to be around a lot of people.
  • If a tissue is not available, its better to cough or sneeze into the bend in your elbow rather than your hand, it will have less contact with high traffic areas like your hands.
  • When you cannot get to a restroom to wash your hands, reach for a bottle of hand sanitizer or chlorine wipes. Just be sure that you fully cover your hands with a sufficient amount of either products.
  • To greatly reduce your chances of catching or spreading germs at work, reduce face to face relations with co workers with inter office email, telephone conferences, and having sack lunches rather than buffets.
  • If you are in close quarters with someone who may be sick, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth to minimize the ability of the virus getting into your body easily.
  • Of course, most health professionals highly recommend getting vaccinated for the best prevention of the flu virus.
  • If you are an individual in charge of others, such as a supervisor, try to keep your employees at least 3-6 feet from each other, and consider split shifts to keep less people in the same area throughout the day.
  • Lastly, review your illness policies at your workplace and make adjustments as you see fit. Also discuss and penalties that may come into play if you require extended time away from work to recover from an illness such as the flu.