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Prevention of Spread of Colds and Flu in the Workplace

Colds and flu (respiratory viruses) are highly infectious and can spread rapidly through the workplace, making everyone's life a misery. Whilst winter has the highest incidence of these illnesses, they can occur all year round. A few simple precautions can minimise the spread of these viruses and help keep everyone healthier   2010-08-30
 

All medical advice regarding colds and flu emphasises the importance of avoiding crowded places to avoid catching this type of illness.

However, there are some crowded places which you cannot avoid and in which you must spend hours, such as your place of work. Businesses, therefore, are important players in slowing down the spread of all respiratory viruses.

Our advice on colds and flu helps you and your colleagues protect yourselves during working hours.

Basic Guidelines to Prevent the Spread of Respiratory Viruses at Work

There are some basic guidelines which you, your colleagues and your employer, should follow during working hours in order to prevent virus spread:

Always carry tissues

Use clean tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze

Bin the tissues after one use

Wash your hands frequently, with soap and hot water wherever possible, or use a sanitizer gel

Keep sanitizer gel on your desk and in all communal areas - and encourage everyone to use it after handling items of office equipment which may be used by others, such as photocopiers and keyboards

Take care to regularly disinfect office equipment such as phone handsets, keyboards and mice; additionally, periodically disinfect door handles as viruses can be brought in by visitors

Unless your office is totally air conditioned, ensure there is fresh air in the office at all times if possible.  Open the windows; even if only by an inch or so

Make sure you leave the office at break times to get some fresh air

Do not go to work if you suspect you have the flu - which is far more acute and serious than a cold