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How to Prevent Spreading Your Cold Around the Office


Whether or not its flu season, odds are, someone in your office is going to try and work through a cold. This usually results in everyone else becoming sniffling, sneezing messes by the end of the week.

This doesn’t have to be the case. Thanks to WebMD and MSNBC, we have gathered some helpful tips to avoid spreading that nasty cold throughout the workplace.

  • Keep High Traffic Areas Sanitized. Make sure to wipe down keyboards, desk surfaces, switches, any kind of button that multiple people use, like elevators and copy machines, and anywhere else in the office that is frequented by lots of people.
  • Find Out Who Else in the Office is Sick. Find out who else in the office is under the weather. No need to avoid them. Just make sure the interactions spread information and not more germs.
  • Keep an Air Ionizer by your Desk. This will help purify air from dust particles and bacteria, keeping you healthier overall. Check out this one from Amazon for $40.
  • Be a Little Bit Annoying. If you were forced to come into work because you don’t get sick pay, now’s the time to lobby for it, and to have sick people stay at home. Also, have your office pay for hand sanitizers to be left in prominent places.
  • Sneeze into Your Arm, Not Your Hand. Not only will this make trips to the bathroom less frequent, but your coworkers will appreciate it more.
  • Keep Washing Your Hands. Yeah, do that too! This may seem like second nature, but you’d be surprised at how many people forget to wash their hands. It really works!
  • Stay Healthier in General. Get a good night’s sleep and eat a balanced diet. This will help keep your immune system in tip-top shape, and make yourself more resistant to sickness overall.
  • Exercise. Do you even lift? Shoot for around 30 minutes a day. If you find that you don’t have time, change your routine. Park farther away from the office and walk to work. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, or take a brisk walk around the parking lot during your lunch breaks. The more physical activity you squeeze into the day, the better you’ll feel!
  • Stop Smoking. It dries out your throat and prevents your throat’s “filter” (cilia) from cleaning the air you inhale.
  • Take a Trip to the Sauna. A 1989 study in Germany found that people who steamed twice a week got half as many colds by 25%. That sounds like a lot of numbers! Basically, when you’re in a sauna, you inhale air hotter than 80 Degrees, a temperature too hot for cold and flu viruses to survive.
  • Eat Plenty of Yogurt. Studies show that eating a cup of low-fat yogurt each day reduces your susceptibility to colds by 25%. Experts think the bacteria in yogurt stimulates production of immune system substances that fight disease. Plus, they taste good!
  • Keep Geranium on Your Desk. The leaves of the plant emit phytoncides that kill airborne bacteria. When you feel like a sneeze coming, tear a leaf off the plant and rub it between your fingers to release more phytoncides. Inhale a pleasant odor for a moment instead of sneezing all over the workplace (or in your arm if you’ve been listening to what we are saying).
  • Here’s an interesting side note. A 2007 clinical study found that little to no benefit came from taking Vitamin C for cold prevention. Oranges are tasty, but don’t expect it to help much in fighting off the sickness.