Sniffle, Sniffle…Don’t Let Cold Season Keep You Down!
It’s December. Welcome to (for many of us) the season of bitterly cold temperatures, falling snow, holiday parties, and colds and flu. Without being melodramatic, for those of us that either work in client-facing careers, or at least work in a facility with other human beings, the threat of illness is everywhere. Every door handle, faucet knob, computer mouse or keyboard, and phone receiver can be a breeding ground for germs. Earlier this year, I shared an infographic that showed all of the places in the office to be concerned about when it comes to keeping your immune system healthy.
Now I want to share a few personal tips with you about how to shield yourself from winter ailments formed in the petri dish of an office setting:
- Stay very hydrated. With the holiday parties happening every couple of days, it can be easy to watch our water to alcohol scales tip slightly in favor of booze. One way to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself in front of your coworkers and to also make sure that you ward off hangovers and the destruction of your body that comes with them, is to drink lots of water. 64 ounces a day is desirable, and try to drink even more if you’re consuming diuretics like caffeine or alcohol. Water helps your body flush out potential toxins and keep healthy during the holiday season.
- Wash your hands this way. It doesn’t cut it to just rub the soap there a couple of times, rinse off, and call it good. Health professionals recommend a full 20+ seconds per hand wash in order to effectively get rid of residual germs. What I like to do is sing the “Happy Birthday” song to myself in my head two full times before I rinse my hands. Pro-tip: When you wipe off your hands with a paper towel, keep hold of that paper towel so that you can use it to open any remaining doors. Remember that not EVERYONE washes their hands–why do you want to undo what you just did by grabbing the same handle they did? Pro-tip #2: Invest in good lotion. Practicing good hand-washing can lead to chapped skin.
- Put together a Cold Emergency Kit. One year, I put these together for all of my employees, and I’m revisiting the idea this year for my office. A good Cold Emergency Kit should include things for people who are sick at work, people who are getting sick at work, and people who need to stay away from these people. Think of things like cough drops, tea, chapstick, hand sanitizer, lotion, hand wipes, facial tissue, Emergen-C or Airborne, vitamin packets (lots of B-12 for those who are dragging,) fast-acting remedies like Zicam, etc. Your coworkers will thank you and Getting-Sick You will think that Healthy You is a genius.
- Get lots of rest. For the last couple of years, health professionals have been harping on us over and over about getting a decent 8 hours of sleep every night to keep your body in excellent condition. Don’t let holiday stress and planning get in the way of getting yourself plenty of rest to fight off any potential germs.
- Stay active. When it’s freezing and snowy out, getting outdoor exercise can be difficult. Make sure to keep moving where you can. Walk around your office building, stand up and stretch, join a gym if you can (but beware the germs there, too!) Exercise is great immune system support and that’s something you need for both cold and flu season, as well as to help stave off lots of holiday food comas!
- Get a flu shot. Protect yourself by defending yourself. Check out the Mayo Clinic’s facts on flu shots here!
Don’t be a victim of this year’s illness strains! What other kinds of things can you suggest to support your immune system this season?