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You can hear him coming from clear across the building. You’d have to be deaf not to hear the ridiculous hacking, sniffling, and sneezing coming from your coworker. He reaches the perimeter of your department, and everyone, except for yourself, immediately dons a surgical grade face mask.
Great. Where’s your line of defense? What’s stopping those germs from exiting your coworker’s body and beelining straight for yours? Not much. But here are 5 great tips to postpone the inevitability of a cold.
Wash Your Hands… A Lot.
The CDC lists handwashing as one of the most important ways to prevent yourself and others from infections. Why? Because it prevents the spread of germs. Wash your hands after everything… seriously. Wash them before you eat or make food, after the restroom, after shaking someone’s hand, and after touching your nose, an animal, or a young child. “Wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry.” The CDC recommends a 20-second ‘scrub’, or to sing Happy Birthday twice. But even if the entire process of “wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry” takes less than 20 seconds, that’s better than nothing.
Use Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers
Although hand sanitizers aren’t as effective as washing your hands, it can be used when you’re short on time or without soap and water. It doesn’t kill all germs, but hand sanitizer is useful for situations with minimal contact with germs. Just make sure you cover your entire hand, and that you allow the sanitizer to dry completely (do not wipe it off prematurely).
Stay Away From Sick People.
Would you rather be sick for an average of two weeks, or slightly offend someone? Odds are you’d rather offend someone. If you notice a coworker or client sniffling, and they extend their arm to shake hands with you, politely decline. “I’m sorry. I have a young child at home and I can’t risk getting them sick.” Or, “I have a big presentation in a few days. I don’t have as much motivation as you do to work when I’m under the weather.” Most people will understand. If they don’t, oh well. You can’t please everyone… unless it’s your boss. Shake his hand.
Fingers Away From The Face.
When there are people coughing and sneezing all around your office, keep your hands and fingers away from your face. And, honestly, this should become a daily habit of yours. Your mouth, nose, and eyes are prime access points for any germ because from here, they can attach to your mucus membranes and really do some damage. One study demonstrated that individuals touch their mouth and nose nearly four times every hour. No wonder people are coughing and sneezing all around your office.
Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep every night, and according to the National Health Interview Survey, a staggering 30% of adults get less than six. An article posted by NPR last September reported on the findings of a sleep study set up by a psychologist from UCSF. 164 people were infected with the cold virus. Out of this group, 39% of the participants that slept less than six hours got sick, and 18% of those that slept longer than six hours got sick. And while they admit many other factors play a role in susceptibility—age, eating, exercise—sleep has a significant impact