Stay healthy at work and school this flu season by practicing these flu-fighting techniques:
Make a Plan
- Plan for an extended stay at home.
- Determine how you will care for your children and other dependent relatives.
- Make alternative work arrangements, such as telecommuting.
- Ask your employer about their business continuity plan and sick leave policy to encourage employees to stay home when sick.
Wash Your Hands
- Wash often — for at least 20 seconds — with soap and warm water.
- Rub vigorously, making sure to get in between fingers, under the fingernails, and on the backs of your hands.
- Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol when water is not available. Keep one at your workstation for easy use. (Hand sanitizers do not remove surface dirt or other debris; therefore, wash hands as soon as running water is available.)
Cover Your Cough or Sneeze
- Cough or sneeze into the sleeve of your upper arm or the crook of your elbow.
- Use disposable tissues when available, and wash your hands after sneezing into a tissue or blowing your nose.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Do Not Share
- Avoid using others’ personal items (drinks, phones, glasses, makeup, etc.) or work equipment (phones, desks, tools, or keyboard/mouse).
- Clean work equipment before using it if you must borrow it.
Clean and Disinfect
- First, clean surfaces with detergent and water to remove dirt and other debris.
- Then, disinfect common areas (break rooms, waiting rooms, restrooms, door knobs, etc.) with an EPA-registered disinfectant to kill germs.
Build Your Immunity
- Get your annual flu shot.
- Practice healthy lifestyle habits.
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Get plenty of rest. Sleep at least 7-8 hours a night.
- Exercise regularly — at least 30 minutes of activity most days of the week.
- Reduce daily stress level — plan ahead, start projects early, prioritize activities, and delegate tasks.
Keep Your Distance
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Take care of yourself to heal properly.
- Reduce the spread of flu to others who may get complications.
- Children should stay home from school or daycare when they have a fever of 100 degrees or more or a fever with a combination of sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, or earache.
- Adults should stay home when they have a fever of 100 degrees or more.
- Stay 3-6 feet away from others who are sick or if you are sick yourself.
- Avoid kissing and hugging others while ill.
- Telecommute or rotate schedules, if necessary.
Return to School or Work
- When a fever is below 100 degrees for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicine such as Acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a rare but serious illness.
For more information about the flu, visit the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) website at texashelp.tamu.edu, or Sherri Halsell, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Clay County agent at 538-5042.Written by, MPH, Program Specialist, Adult Health for AgriLife Communications.