Feeling the Cold in the Office

It’s official, and a little late, but its winter and that means it’s cold, you’re indoors all the time and you’re around a lot of people. And those people (and their kids) are getting sick.

Clearly you are doomed to catch something, right? Well, maybe, but here’s some tips on how best to avoid the dreaded office-induced illness.

Move around

The health gains from regular exercise can’t be beat, but even small amounts of movement throughout the day can have positive benefits. Set an alarm for every two to three hours to make sure you get up and move around. In fact, while you’re up why don’t you grab a glass of …

Drink water

Drink lots and lots of it. Eight to 10 glasses a day is recommended, especially during the winter. You’ll feel loads better when you are hydrated and if you have already gotten a cold, keeping hydrated has been shown to be an important part of the illness battle (but there may be a limit, so no need to go overboard).

Limit the ‘happy hours’

A study in the University of Maryland and Loyola University showed that excess alcoholic consumption can severely weaken your immune system. Add to that how much time you’re already spending with your (possibly sick) co-workers, and just cut back on the happy hour festivities until flu season passes.

Don’t share anything

Not your lunch. Not a pen. Especially not drinks of any kind. If you really want to avoid catching the office bug, you’ve got to be on the prowl for opportunities where germs will get you. We all remember the recent study of how quickly germs can spread around the classroom, right? And on that note…

Wash your hands!

Do we really need to say much more?

Turn that afternoon coffee into an afternoon juice

Juice has an amazing number of health benefits in the winter so it should be part of your daily routine regardless. But during times of widespread illness, it’s a must.

Don’t forget fruits and vegetables

Didn’t you make a New Year’s resolution to get healthy? Well, here’s a way to kill two birds with one stone: Up your intake of fruits (particularly citrus fruits — you’ve got to get that Vitamin C!) and vegetables. All that healthy goodness will help your immune system stay strong. So skip the pizza line at the cafeteria and head straight for the salad bar tomorrow.

Avoid sick co-workers

This one sound obvious, but actually might be the hardest to accomplish. Depending on your company’s policies and culture, some employees may feel like they have to come to work, even when sick. They may show lots of signs (like coughing throughout today’s three-hour, no-breaks meeting) or they might show none. If someone says they are feeling that sniffle maybe take tomorrow’s meeting as a call from your desk.

And if you are sick? Stay home (or at least bring tissues)

What’s the best way to reduce spreading your cold or flu to others? Work from home if you can. If you absolutely have to come into work, make it your goal to help keep the germs from spreading. Work in an isolated area if possible, and if not, bring lots of tissues — and use them!

Take a vacation

Did you happen to roll over a lot of paid time off from last year? Why not take a vacation in June & July, when prices to warm destinations might be a bit cheaper — before those pesky school vacation weeks, of course. If it won’t impact your team or a big project, why not get away from the petri dish … er … office.

Disclaimer: None of this information should be construed as a medical diagnosis or treatment! If sick, and especially if sick for prolonged periods, make sure to see a qualified medical professional

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