Illness in the Workplace: How to Protect Yourself

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Avoiding Illness in the WorkplaceIf you’re going to work every day, your health is at risk. There’s no easy way around it. Whether you ride the bus or the subway to work and happen to sit next to the person with the loud cough, or you share an office with someone at your workplace who’s sniffling away, someone else’s illness can easily find its way to you.

While there’s unfortunately little you can do if you take public transit, if someone keeps coming into the office to work when they’re sick as a dog, you can do something.

Last week, I got sick, and it’s continued into this week. I picked it up from my partner who told me there’s been an individual at the office who’s been coughing and sniffling for days, essentially putting all of their coworkers at risk.

Let me start by saying that if you’re sick, take a day or two off work. You will increase your chances of recovery by getting the rest you need. Furthermore, you don’t risk spreading your illness to others.

If there’s someone at your workplace who’s putting you and your co-workers at risk, talk to them about it. There’s no reason you or your family should get sick because someone else refuses to take care of his or herself. Simply go up to your coworker and politely say something like, “Are you okay? It seems like you’re a little under the weather. Why don’t you head home, get some rest, and me and the rest of the team will handle your responsibilities?”

Your health is your responsibility. You control what you eat and when you exercise, so why not try to control your exposure to viruses, too? You shouldn’t get sick because someone else refuses to value his or her health; likewise, you need to know when to step back and take time to recuperate. Be polite and do your best to maintain a healthy work environment.

Having said that, it’s always best to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at your desk and use it frequently, especially before eating. You can also consider bumping up the amount of immunity-boosting foods you consume, so your body is able to easily fend off a virus if you do find yourself exposed. Immunity-boosting foods include yogurt, whole oats, garlic, berries, grapefruit, and shellfish, among many others.