Protect yourself from Winter Bugs

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Flu season is here along with winter bugs and the potential for a serious outbreak of flu in the workplace is something which needs to be considered and planned for in advance.

Avensure have put a useful guide to controlling winter bugs in the workplace, which you can share with your staff.

That old saying “prevention is better than cure” holds particularly true during the winter period, where the spread of many infections invisible to the naked eye be it in the work place, gym or pub, are spread from person-to-person and by touching everyday surfaces.

Flu season is here and the potential for a serious outbreak of flu in the work place is something which needs to be considered and planned for in advance to minimise the impact of seasonal illness on the workforce and in turn, prevent any loss of service or outputs to customers or service users.

One of the simplest measures in the prevention of the spread of infections is cleaning your hands.

Numerous separate studies in a variety of different settings from around the world show that good hand hygiene practices can reduce illness, absence and associated cost on an average by around 40 percent.

A recent study showed that only 31% of men and 65% of women washed their hands after using a public restroom.

Employers should encourage proper hand washing to wash hands effectively, lasting at least 20 seconds, according to the CDC.

Most handwashing studies have focused on childcare or healthcare settings. The few that have looked at corporate settings show that promoting clean hands results in fewer employee sick days.

Sick employees are less productive even when they come to work. They may also spread illness to others at work.

So what is good hand washing?

Handwashing gives people the opportunity to take an active role in their own health and the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections.

For effective hand washing, follow these steps:

  • Use water and wet your hands thoroughly.
  • Use soap and lather very well.
  • Scrub your hands, between your fingers, wrists, and forearms with soap for 15 seconds.
  • Scrub under your nails.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Dry your hands with a single use towel or air dryer.
  • Turn off the taps/faucets with a paper towel.
  • Protect your hands from touching dirty surfaces as you leave the bathroom.

When there is no soap or water available, one alternative is to use water-less hand scrubs. Antibacterial agents should be chosen carefully based on their active ingredients and characteristics, and when persistent antimicrobial activity on the hands is desired.

Use Plasters when you have cuts, wear a glove for added protection (cuts are very vulnerable to infections).

Ensure you clean artificial nails – chipped nail polish has been connected with an increase in the number of bacteria on the fingernails.

Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose or mouth.

Liquid soap in disposable containers is best. If using reusable containers, they should be washed and dried before refilling. If using a bar of soap, be sure to set it on a rack that allows water to drain or use small bars that can be changed frequently.