Common Courtesies During Cold and Flu Season
Monday, 29 December 2014 - 13:16 | Views - 3,692
Every year, people brace themselves for the inevitable germs that are tossed around like invisible volleyballs. No matter where you go, you are likely to run into someone with a virus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something to prevent the spread of sickness. Whether you are the one with a cold or the person standing in front of you in the checkout line has the flu, you can use good manners to minimize infection.
If you are sick with a virus, the best thing to do is stay home until you are no longer contagious. This is obviously not so easy, but do everything you can to avoid contact with others. You may think that your absence from work will bring the company’s business to a halt, but most likely a day or two of taking care of yourself at home won’t matter much in the long run. In fact, you may prevent others with compromised immune systems from getting sick and costing the company even more productivity.
This also applies to your children. Close quarters in the classroom provide a feeding frenzy for enthusiastic germs. When your child is sick with the flu, let the teacher know that you don’t want to infect your child’s classmates. Ask for homework so your child can keep up with the rest of the class.
Wash your hands frequently throughout the day. Even if you don’t think your hands are dirty, you may have picked up some germs from touching doorknobs, computer keyboards, telephones, and other office equipment. Lather your hands and wrists with soap and rinse for at least 20 seconds.
Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket or purse. If you can’t get to a sink as frequently as you like, use the sanitizer according to directions. This doesn’t mean that every time you shake someone’s hand, you should whip it out in front of the person. Be discreet and do it a few minutes later. You don’t want to insult anyone. Hand sanitizers are made in a variety of sizes and scents, so pick one that fits your needs but doesn’t offend others with strong smells. Remember that some people are allergic to fragrance.
Baby wipes can also help prevent the spread of germs. Keep a travel size pack in your pocket or purse and use them to wipe off grocery carts and hand baskets. If you touch a doorknob after coughing or sneezing, use the baby wipe to clean it.
Have a stash of tissues in your home, your office, and your car. Keep a travel pack in your handbag or pocket for emergencies. When you feel a sneeze or coughing attack about to happen, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. As soon as possible, find a sink and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, bend your elbow and cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm.
When Others Are Sick
Be generous with your tissues when others around you don’t feel well. This will provide comfort for them and protection for you. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on the edge of your desk to make it convenient for coworkers to use. The small expense of refills is worth not having the germs lingering and making everyone else sick.
If you are still dealing with the residual effects of a cold or flu, let others know. They will appreciate your honesty when you don’t accept their handshake. Rather than be rude and ignore their extended hand, you should offer an explanation. You may say something like, “I’m sorry, but I’ve been sick recently, and I don’t want to spread germs. I would feel terrible if you caught my cold.” The other person will appreciate your gesture and consideration.
General Good Manners
There will be times when you cough or sneeze in public, but you should still follow some basic etiquette rules. Turn away from people to prevent spraying them with germs. When you are finished, say, “Excuse me,” or “I am sorry.”