How To Protect Yourself From Infectious Diseases At The Workplace

Most of the employees march into their offices even when they are ill with the infection. This could possibly be due to the fear of no paid sick leave or due to the guilt of missing work or meeting the timelines. It is not only unpleasant and disturbing when such co-workers start coughing all over the conference, but they can leave the bacteria and virus at their desks putting their peers at risk of infection. If you are feeling alarmed about getting exposed to infections in such a crowded workplace, adopting a few safety measures can help you out.

Transmission of infection can occur through air, contaminated food and objects, skin-to-skin contact, and body fluids. If you can take proper care keeping in mind these modes of transmission, you are successful in staying healthy. Most commonly flu can spread readily from your co-workers.

Wash your hands – Most of the pathogens enter your system through your hands, so hand washing is the most basic thing that can prevent this entry. Make it a habit to wash your hands with soap at least for 15 seconds and dry them. Do this before cooking, eating, and before every time you use the toilet, or touch your clients, etc.

Personal items – It is better not to use the personal items of others such as napkins, cloths, spoons, etc. The germs get trapped in them and can stay alive for several hours till they find the new host, which can be you!

Wear gloves, nose cap, and gown – If your work deals with handling bodily fluids, or touching broken skin or mucus membrane, or performing surgery, then wear fresh gloves every time you handle a new client or when necessary. Based on your profession, wear a gown to prevent contact with the infected person. Wear a nose cap to avoid infections when the other person sneezes.

Avoid close contact with your peers, especially if they are ill.

Maintain a clean desk – Get your desk and surroundings cleaned with alcohol based disinfectants on a daily basis.

Get vaccinated – Get vaccinated against specific infections depending on your workplace which may include:

  • Hepatitis A vaccine if you are a childcare worker or handle wastewater
  • Hepatitis B vaccine if you are an employee who is exposed to blood and other infectious materials.
  • Tetanus vaccine especially if you handle wastewater, construction activities, and other such activities which involve risk of cuts.
  • Rubella vaccine if you are a social service worker.

Other vaccines include those for measles, chickenpox, and flu shots.

First aid kit – Carry an appropriate first aid kit if possible and if necessary based on the risk at your workplace.

People know that they won’t be fired from office for getting sick. Yet, for several reasons they continue to work when ill, compromising the safety of others. So, it is better if you are cautious! Assuming that most of the workers surrounding you are potentially infectious can make you conscious about infection control. The more healthy and happy you are at work, the more productive is your output.

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