Safety Tips Office safety

Simple steps to help prevent the spread of illnesses

hand washing
Photo: Kemter/iStockphoto

As reports of the current outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) dominate the headlines, keeping calm can prove difficult. However, one of the best ways to combat anxiety – and be prepared – is to be informed. Many of the recommendations for protecting yourself from the potentially deadly respiratory illness – symptoms of which include fever, cough and shortness of breath – are the same tips you should follow to help prevent catching the flu or common cold.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw away the used tissue. Then, promptly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • If you develop flu-like symptoms, stay home from work until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines, and refrain from traveling.
  • Stay at least 3 feet away from anyone who appears ill.
  • Make it a habit to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you suspect you may be sick, avoid sharing personal items such as drinking glasses or utensils.
  • Clean “high-touch” surfaces such as doorknobs, desks, keyboards and phones every day with a cleaning spray or wipe.

CDC also recommends learning about your workplace’s sick leave policy and whether working remotely is an option if you’re sick.

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