When the clock strikes 12 on Oct. 31, carved pumpkins and Halloween candy are swapped out for string lights and hot cocoa overnight. While the winter months are cozy and cheerful for some people, the happy holidays also usher in the not-so-fun start of flu season. Staying healthy during flu season at work can be challenging — especially when your co-workers are getting sick left and right. Knowing how to protect yourself from the virus is key to keeping aches, chills, and other flu symptoms at bay.
“If a person with the flu sneezes, coughs, or even talks within six feet of you, you could be at risk of being infected. You can also get sick if you touch a surface that has been contaminated with the flu virus, and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth,” Dr. Drew Sinatra, ND, a board-certified naturopathic physician at Healthy Directions, a company that offers expert natural health guidance and sells doctor-developed nutritional supplements, tells Bustle.
To avoid catching the flu, Dr. Sinatra explains personal hygiene is a must. “You want to make sure you wash your hands a lot, especially before eating or touching your eyes, nose, and mouth,” he says. Dr. Sinatra adds that keeping hand sanitizer nearby is also a good idea when you can't easily get to a sink. Moreover, adopting immune-boosting habits — such as making sure you get at least seven hours of sleep, taking zinc, and staying hydrated — can help stave off the influenza virus once you've gotten your flu shot. If you begin to experience flu-like symptoms yourself, it's best to stay home, if you have the option, to avoid infecting others.
There’s no telling how severe or widespread the virus will be at this point. However, getting into the habit now of taking steps to prevent exposure to the flu or cold viruses — especially at work— can help protect yourself later on into the wintery months when the height of flu season hits. Here are 15 items you can keep at your desk to stay on top of your health this flu season.
1. Lavender Hand Sanitizer
2. A Water Bottle
3. Warming Cough Drops
4. Green Tea
5. Disinfecting Wipes
6. Zinc Supplements
7. Soft Tissues
8. Screen Cleaner
9. A Bento Box
10. An Antimicrobial Lipgloss
11. Snacks That Are High In Fiber
12. Cold Medicine
13. A Fleece Jacket
14. An Essential Oil Rollerball
15. A Desktop Humidifier
According to the CDC’s Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report, there's already been low activity of influenza-like illnesses recorded in the U.S. Flu season is just getting started, which means now is the time to get your flu shot and take the necessary measures to protect yourself from the virus — and avoid infecting others. Want to beat the flu in the workplace this winter? Try prioritizing your personal hygiene, and fill your desk with little things that can boost your health.
Dr. Drew Sinatra, N.D., a board-certified naturopathic physician at Healthy Directions
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