Cintas Corporation shares its top tips for dealing with sickness in the workplace. According to a 2011 Harris Poll, nearly three-quarters of workers typically go to work sick, which can put others at risk.
The top tips include:
1. Take medicine at the first signs of sickness: When you start feeling sick, look to your employer’s first-aid cabinet for a wide variety of solutions in individually sealed, tamper-evident packets such as decongestants, aspirin and other cold-relief products. This will help prevent common cold symptoms, such as coughing and sneezing, from contaminating work areas.
2. Avoid medication that can induce drowsiness: Especially for employees working with machinery or whose jobs require driving, non-drowsy formulas are essential. These products help you maintain productivity without increasing the opportunity for accidents. Read medicine labels thoroughly to ensure drowsiness is not one of the side effects of the medicine and stop taking medicine if you feel it is affecting your ability to stay alert.
3. Stay hydrated: When a person is sick, the body loses fluids easily. Regularly drink fluids in order to keep from becoming dehydrated. Water is best for fighting illness rather than coffee or soft drinks. If you become sick, drink water consistently over the course of the day.
4. Cover cuts and abrasions: Bandages help keep wounds clean and prevent harmful bacteria from entering cuts. Consult first-aid cabinets for a variety of different options, such as water-resistant and industrial-strength bandages.
5. Keep hands clean: Effective and regular hand washing can help prevent the spread of pathogens to coworkers. Washing hands after touching your nose, eyes or mouth also reduces the likelihood that re-infection will occur. Scrub hands with hot water and soap for 20 seconds to get the best results. Use hand sanitizer to further disinfect or when handwashing is not possible.
6. Limit contact with others and communal items: Keep others from being exposed to your germs by maintaining your distance. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cold-causing rhinoviruses can live for up to three hours on skin. Thus, avoid directly touching communal items such as door handles, printers and photocopiers.
7. Take a day of rest if necessary: Sometimes taking a sick day is the best solution for your illness. Getting extra sleep and limiting exertion will help your body recuperate more quickly. If taking a sick day is not possible, ask your employer if telecommuting is an option.