In addition to protecting yourself against COVID-19, it’s also critical to take precautions to avoid other illnesses—especially during flu season. While viruses can circulate year-round, flu activity tends to surge in the fall and winter months. During this time, there are several measures that you can implement to keep both yourself and others safe and healthy at work. Consider these suggestions to keep the workplace safe:
- Stay home if you feel sick. If you have a fever or respiratory symptoms, stay home until their conditions improve. Those who experience a fever should hold off on returning to work for another 24 hours after their fever ends (38C or lower) without the use of medication. Yet, keep in mind that not everyone who has the flu will get a fever. Other symptoms may include body aches, a dry cough, a sore throat, loss of appetite or a headache.
- Wash your hands. When using soap and water, rub your soapy hands together for at least 20 seconds before rinsing them with water and drying them. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser until you are able to wash your hands.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Tissues should go into a ‘no-touch’ bin after you use them. Additionally, be sure to wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Refrain from touching your face.
- Keep frequently touched surfaces clean. Commonly used surfaces—such as counters, door handles, phones, computer keyboards and touchpads—should be cleaned between each use.
- Limit shared equipment, and clean equipment before others use it. Avoid using a colleague’s phone, desk, office, computer or other equipment unless it’s cleaned with a disinfectant approved by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
- Follow protocols. Make sure you understand workplace policies and procedures regarding how to stay healthy during flu season.
- Discuss alternate work arrangements. If you’re concerned about your health, speak to your supervisor about alternate work arrangements—such as remote work or staggered shifts—to protect yourself or colleagues who are considered high risk for seasonal flu (eg older workers, pregnant women and employees with asthma).
- Get your flu jab. According to the UK Health Security Agency, the seasonal flu vaccine will be especially important this year. Click here for more information or to check if you are eligible.
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