During flu season, we all need to be mindful
of ways we can minimise the spread of infection. It’s not only to protect not
only ourselves and our families but other people in the community, including
those who are particularly vulnerable to flu complications like children,
pregnant women and older people.
The flu spreads through respiratory droplets
that become airborne when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or even
breathes, as well as through touching surfaces that are contaminated with the
virus. Having large groups of people together is one of the ways that the flu
can spread quickly through the community - that’s why you often see flu
breakouts in nursing homes, schools, and workplaces.
In fact, the flu virus can spread in a matter
of hours. A study by the University of Arizona found that when someone comes to
work sick, about half of the commonly touched surfaces in the office will be
infected with the virus by lunchtime. Yuck!
Try these tips to avoid spreading the flu at
home when you’re sick
The importance of staying home when you’re
sick cannot be overstated - especially if you think that you have the flu.
Every workplace should encourage their employees to stay home and rest when
they are sick, and put in place practices that make this possible. This might
include having the option to phone into important meetings, having multiple
people working across a project, or having a project management system where
others can see the progress of a task or project.
You might think that going into work for an
important meeting is a good idea, but consider that you are putting every other
person in that meeting at risk of infection, simply by being in the same room.
You can collect a carer’s certificate or
workplace leave certificate from your local Capital Chemist for short-term and
self-limiting conditions that typically fall into the pharmacist’s normal scope
of practice. You don’t even need to book an appointment - although there may be
a short wait and you’ll need to pay a fee. Conditions apply - find out more.
your hands properly
It’s not just respiratory droplets in the air
that spread infection, but contaminated surfaces. Think for a moment about how
many surfaces you touch in a day, including keyboards, buttons, phones, taps,
tabletops, and handles on doors, microwaves, and fridges. If you only wash your
hands a couple of times throughout the day, you’re exposing yourself to an
enormous amount of germs and bacteria.
Be sure to wash your hands with soap after
touching your face, coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, going to the toilet,
and before eating - as well as any other opportunities during the day. It’s
also a good idea to have an anti-bacterial hand sanitizing gel on hand for
your workplace clean and sanitized
In the same way, think about how often a
single surface in the workplace is touched through the day - particularly the
areas mentioned above. Flu viruses can last up to 24 hours on surfaces, so it’s
essential to regularly clean and disinfect these areas.
This applies not only to common areas in the
workplace but also individual working areas. Be sure to have cleaning supplies
available to all employees so that they can clean up after themselves and
disinfect their workspace including their keyboard and desk surface. This is
especially important if your office uses hot desking or has multiple people
working in one workspace throughout the day.
Know the symptoms of the flu so you can be
aware of your own health and avoid others who may have the flu. These include:
Fever or chills
Aches in the muscles and/or joints
It’s also a good idea to educate yourself and
your colleagues of preventative measures you can take.
cold vs influenza
A cold is unpleasant but nowhere near as
severe as influenza. Influenza will often present with extreme fatigue, muscle
pain, fever and cough and the patient is very sick. The concept of “soldiering
on” for a patient with influenza is almost impossible because they are so ill.
If you suspect influenza (as opposed to a common cold) consult your doctor;
there are prescription medications that can reduce the severity and duration of
Capital Chemist offers flu vaccinations in-store, so
it’s easy to get yourself and your family vaccinated. Geographic and age restrictions apply, so contact
your local participating Capital Chemist today