Illness In The Workplace: How to Stop the Spread
Illness in the workplace can be inconvenient from a productivity perspective and with cold and flu affecting up to 15 million people in the UK each year it can add pressure to businesses especially when cases are more common in the winter months.
It's important to understand that cold and flu have similar symptoms, but flu symptoms are more severe and the potential complications are more concerning. Every year vulnerable people (very young, old, pregnant, immunocompromised) are asked to get a flu vaccination to prevent them from getting the flu.
How you catch a cold and flu:
When an infected person coughs or sneezes the tiny droplets of the infected saliva spread around them and can be inhaled by other people or will land on objects/ people and can last on them for up to 3 hours.
By covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing you reduce the number of droplets entering the area around you and potentially infecting your colleagues. Frequently washing/ sanitizing your hands will reduce your chances of getting infected by cold/ flu.
Harm Flu can cause:
Flu might just affect some people like a bad cold but for others, it can cause them to be bedridden for days, hospital visits, or even result in death. Having the flu can also increase the risk of getting bronchitis or pneumonia or make existing conditions worse.
Even though we are no longer in lockdown, Covid is still around, and different variants are appearing that can not be picked up on a lateral flow test. Although the type of Covid has changed, the symptoms have remained relatively the same:
- High temperature
- A new continuous cough
- A loss or change to the sense of smell and/or taste
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired/ exhausted
- An aching body
- Sore throat
- Blocked or runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling/ being sick
How to avoid the spread of Cold and Flu:
As viruses can spread by the spraying of infected saliva, you must protect yourself and others. To protect yourself from the spread of cold and flu you should:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, this should be done for at least 20 seconds at a time.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth when you have not washed your hands.
- Stay away from people who are sick.
How to protect others when you are sick:
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Move away from people before coughing or sneezing.
- Cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve or a tissue and throw it away. You should completely cover your mouth and nose when doing this.
- Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
- Disinfect surfaces that are touched often such as mobile phones, door handles, keyboards, etc.
Cold and flu increase visits to an already in-demand GP clinic and put added pressure on the NHS, so if you're experiencing symptoms visit the NHS website for advice, call 111 or your GP, and in an instance where it is life-threatening call 999.