5 Ways to Avoid Spreading Illness

November 8, 2016

With the changing weather, the potential for contracting a cold or the flu increases substantially.

The flu is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by the influenza virus—with symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, loss of appetite, and a runny or stuffy nose.

While the common cold and the seasonal flu share many of the same symptoms, colds are often characterised by mild headaches and body aches. Unlike the flu, colds don’t usually require a trip to your GP and can often be treated simply by using over-the-counter medications.

While colds and the flu aren’t generally a concern for individuals of good health, they can be dangerous for older workers and those with pre-existing conditions like asthma. So, while you may be able to handle these illnesses, co-workers, friends, family members or those you come into contact with may not.

As such, it’s important to protect yourself from contracting a cold or the flu altogether in order to prevent the spread of the disease. The following are just a few strategies you can use to keep yourself and those you interact with safe and healthy:

  1. Get a flu jab. This is often cited as the best way to prevent contracting or spreading the disease. Health officials recommend that everyone older than 6 months get a flu jab each year.
  2. Stay home if you feel ill. Not only does rest help your body recover from colds and the flu, but staying home can help prevent spreading the illness.
  3. Wash your hands. Using soap and water to wash your hands is critical when preventing the spread of illness. This should be done often and especially after using the toilet or prior to eating.
  4. Avoid others. If you’re ill, be smart and avoid shaking hands or coming into contact with your co-workers.
  5. 5.       Be mindful of where you cough. By coughing and sneezing into your arm and not your hand, you are limiting your chances of spreading your germs to others.

If you do catch a more serious cold or the flu, it may be a good idea to see your GP and to discuss treatment options.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), influenza contributes to about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths each year.

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