Well it's officially fall here in the north of the equator, and if you work in a densely-populated office building pumped full of recycled air, it's likely you hear the approach of sniffly noses and coughs across the floor... creeping ever closer... winter is coming. However, the first step in admitting we have a problem is acknowledging that at some point you WILL get sick. We work in bubbles, it's inevitable.
Now that you've prepared for the worst, here's 5 tips for staying germ-free at work (for as long as possible).
1. Stay hydrated!
Drinking water is a no-brainer, but I feel like part of being an adult is realizing that you're never drinking enough water, not following through on drinking enough water, and eventually shaming yourself for not drinking enough water - which leads to more not drinking water.
It's a vicious cycle, but one that ultimately weakens your immune system. Humans are approximately 60% goo, and if you aren't drinking enough water, you risk keeping bad juju in your kidneys, lymphatic system, and other areas of your body.
2. Keep sanitizing supplies nearby.
No one wants to be the person wildly spraying Lysol in the air, but it does make sense to keep hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes nearby common areas. This could be as simple as wiping down the community fridge and microwave at the end of the day or banishing people with runny noses to the basement. Keep in mind that there are people who are sensitive to smells and cleaning products, so save the wild spraying for those times someone goes home sick and you need to cleanse their desk of the plague.
3. Get vaccinated.
I love science, it does wonderful things for us. One of the most amazing things science has ever given us is tiny zombie bacteria that we use to combat diseases that used to wreak havoc on the human population. Did you know that measles is on the rise after being nearly non-existent in first-world countries? Vaccines won't stop a cold, we all know that, but it could stop whooping cough from being passed to your coworker with the newborn at home and we all thank you for that.
4. Don't go overboard on the Vitamin C
I know someone who, at the first sign of a cold, drinks a gallon of orange juice. This has got to be the most misinformed strategy for handling illnesses that I've seen in my life. Did you know that vitamin C can cause severe intestinal distress? Since we covered staying hydrated in #1, here are some other vitamins that can help you get through a cold without all the sugar and the danger of a code brown.
- Vitamin D
- Omega 3 oils
5. Don't tough it out.
This is something I want to impress upon all of you - the work will be there when you get back. No one wants to sit next to the harbinger of doom. You see how we're all slowly moving our desks away from yours? Shrinking away from you in the hallways? Glaring with malign as you touch the elevator buttons and bathroom door handles. Take the day off, make a blanket fort, and come back when you aren't sweating profusely and shedding viral bacteria.