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October 18, 2013
Tips for staying healthy during flu season

You’ve probably already noticed more people sniffling and coughing at work these days. October marks the start of the cold and flu season, and there’s no question that workplaces can be a breeding ground for germs.

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Keep reading to find out how you can stay well and avoid infecting others this season.

A survey released by Kimberly-Clark Professional (KCP) found that 59 percent of people go to work when they’re sick. Three out of 10 said it was because they were too important to the business operation to stay home.

Spreading cold and flu germs is easy. All it takes is a cough, a sneeze, or an unwashed hand touching an elevator button or stair railing. Viruses on surfaces like sink faucets and door handles can spread rapidly, especially in public places. KCP cites studies that show workers are exposed to illness-causing bacteria even in their break rooms.

While it’s hard to change others’ behavior, there are steps each of us can take to reduce the onslaught of germs at work. KCP recommends that we wash, wipe, and sanitize on a regular basis. Other good ideas:

  • Speak up. Ask your safety manager or occupational health nurse to provide hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and other products to help break the chain of germ transmission.
  • Cover. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze and then throw the tissue away. If no tissue is handy, cough or sneeze into the inner part of your sleeve at the elbow.
  • Stay home. If you get sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends staying at home away from others for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.

Good hygiene practices may be spreading

According to the Kimberly-Clark Professional survey:

  • 79 percent of respondents wash their hands after coming in contact with a sick colleague;
  • 97 percent wash their hands after using the restroom as a way to avoid getting sick;
  • 81 percent use a hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes; and
  • 84 percent said the top motivator for using products to avoid illness was easy access.
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