Nobody wants to get sick. Not only is it generally miserable, it can cause you to miss days at work, forcing you to either burn valuable paid time off or risk just not getting paid — not to mention doctor bills or co-pays.
The flu is on the rise across the United States, according to new figures from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). That means you need to do all you can to avoid the flu at home — and at work.
Of course, if you’ve already gotten a flu shot, you can sleep a little more soundly. But what if you haven’t?
Team Clark spoke to Dr. Brett Cannon, vice president and chief of emergency medicine at WellStar Health System in metro Atlanta. Cannon says that if you haven’t gotten the flu shot yet, it’s not too late:
“Earlier in the season is certainly better. But if you haven’t had a shot this year, it’s still a good idea to get one. While we’re getting towards the end of peak flu season, we’ll continue to see new cases of the flu for the next couple of months,” Cannon says. “Keep in mind it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to ‘work’ — for you to develop protective antibodies. So if you’re considering getting the vaccine this season, don’t put it off any longer.”
Follow the K.I.S.S. method to avoid the flu in 2019
Citing statistics for the week ending February 9, the CDC says the flu is “widespread” in 48 states and Puerto Rico. Even though this flu season is considered one of “low severity,” between 11,600 and 19,100 have died, according to the agency.
One way to prevent the flu in your home or on the job is to implement the K.I.S.S. method.
K.I.S.S. is an acronym that helps you easily remember what you need to do to prevent the spread of the flu. As you’ll see, each of the steps requires an action on your part.
K.I.S.S. stands for:
- Keep your hands clean
- Stay at home
- Steer clear of close contact
Let’s go into detail about these flu safety tips to get a greater understanding:
Keep your hands clean
Viruses often live on surfaces we put our hands on: countertops, tables, laptops and office desks, for example. We need to keep our hands clean if we’re going to stay healthy.
The CDC says, “Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.”
Inoculate: Get a flu shot
As we mentioned above, if you haven’t already, it’s not too late to get a flu shot.
One of the biggest things that discourages people from getting vaccinated is the misconception that flu shots cause people to get sick.
The CDC says that while illness from a flu shot is rare, it most likely is caused by other culprits: You may have another respiratory virus such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
Also, it’s possible that you may have been exposed to a virus that is another strain of the flu and not the one used in the vaccine. In any event, the flu shot does not cause the flu.
Stay at home
If you’re employed, there is no shame in staying home from work if you’re not feeling well. That’s why most employees have an allotment of sick days.
Of course, there are times when you feel that your absence would delay certain tasks or projects that need to be completed. If you can’t take a vacation day, see if it’s possible for you to work remotely.
In any event, if you’re sick from the flu or a cold, it’s a good idea to stay home so as not to spread it at work.
Steer clear of close contact
While you may not have a literal water cooler at your job, there may still be times when you congregate to discuss a project or have a meeting. While face-to-face may be ideal, many companies now have inter-office messaging systems that allow for most conversations to take place remotely.
If you you’re a boss or supervisor, encourage online communications rather than close contact during flu season by initiating messages via computer.
Bonus: Cover your nose and mouth
One of the primary ways that the virus travels is through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. If you are sick, it’s important to cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. To limit the spread of germs, it’s best to put a handkerchief or tissue between your hand and mouth.