Pumpkin spice everything, Halloween costumes crammed onto one shelf to make room for Christmas paraphernalia and cooler temperatures (OK…it’s Florida but 85 degrees is a lot cooler than 95) just scream autumn. However, with fall also come colds, flus, viruses, etc. How do we protect our employees and ourselves from these dreaded illnesses? A few simple steps can make a huge difference in our well-being.
- Get a flu shot. Although a flu shot won’t prevent the flu, it goes a long way to minimizing the duration and severity of the illness. These vaccines are readily available at major pharmacies (Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS, Publix, etc.) and many insurance companies will cover the cost at 100%.
- Wash your hands. Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds will kill most of the germs – including cold and flu germs -- on your hands.
- Sanitize commonly used items. In the workplace, keyboards, telephones, door handles, etc. are all filled with germs. Provide disinfecting wipes so that employees are able to sanitize their work spaces – especially those spaces or items they share with co-workers. Oh, and don’t forget to disinfect your cell phone…one of the germiest items you likely possess.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Soap and water aren’t always conveniently available, so make it a practice to carry hand sanitizer with you so that you can “wash” your hands after touching door handles, menus, etc. that may contain cold and flu germs.
- Avoid close contact with sick people. This isn’t always easy to do…especially if the person who is sick is a loved one. However, try to avoid close contact with people who are ill as much as possible. And always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer if you do end up shaking the hand of someone who has a cold or flu. And if you are sick, try to stay home and avoid spreading your virus to others.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, a good night’s sleep and healthy eating keeps your body fit and better able to fight off any illnesses you may be exposed to.
Health.com (http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20250939,00.html), WebMD (http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-guide/cold_flu_stopping_germs_work), and the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) all have great tips for help you and your employees stay well.
Contributed by Christine Crews, SPHR, is Vice President of Human Resource Services for the Employers Association Forum, Inc. (EAF). EAF is a non-profit corporate membership-based association dedicated to serving the business and HR communities with world-class HR tools, hotlines & legal compliance, news & trends, surveys & economic data, benefits & insurance, risk management, training & consulting, and leadership & organizational development. HCCMO members receive discounted rates on all EAF classroom training at EAF’s training center in Longwood. Click here for currently scheduled programs: http://www.eafinc.org/online_store/training/HCCMO/training_programs.pdf.
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