5 Ways to Prevent Getting Others Sick - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on December 30, 2015

5 Ways to Prevent Getting Others Sick

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow.

What can you do to prevent spreading
your germs when you’re sick?

During the peak of cold and flu season, you try your best to avoid getting sick. You even get an annual flu shot. But, unfortunately, you may still get sick – if people around you are sick and aren’t practicing good health habits, they’re spreading germs that you can pick up.

If you do get sick, there are things you can do to prevent spreading your germs and getting those around you sick.

1. Avoid Close Contact

If you aren’t sick, try your best to avoid close contact with people who are sick. But, if you get sick, try your best to keep your distance from others to prevent getting them sick too. If you’re afraid of looking rude by not shaking hands or hugging friends, family and colleagues, simply explain to them you’re feeling under the weather – they’ll really appreciate your gesture.

2. Cover Your Mouth and Nose

If you’re coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow. Doing this may prevent your germs spreading to those around you.

3. Don’t Touch Your Eyes, Mouth or Nose

Germs are commonly spread by someone touching a shared surface that’s contaminated by germs and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. If you’re sick, your immune system is already compromised, you don’t need to pick up any additional germs.

4. Keep Your Hands Clean

This is something you should do regardless of being sick. If you aren’t sick, it means you’ll be less likely to let the germs around you get into your system. As much as you may be conscientious about not touching your eyes, mouth or nose, you may inadvertently touch them – if you’re diligent about keeping your hands clean, you should be ok in case this happens.

And if you are sick, keeping your hands clean makes it less likely for you to spread your germs on shared surfaces. Plus, it’s just good hygiene if you’re sneezing and blowing your nose into tissues.

As a reminder, washing your hands with soap and running water is best. Get a good soapy lather going, making sure you get in between your fingers, under your finger nails and the backs of your hands. Scrub your hands for a good 20 seconds, which is the length of the “Happy Birthday” song. In case you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

5. Stay Home

Work doesn’t slow down when you get sick, which can make you feel like you can’t take a sick day. But, staying home is exactly what you should do when you don’t feel well. First of all, rest is a key ingredient in getting better. Second, your co-workers will be happy you didn’t come into the office and spread your germs all over the place, sniffling and coughing throughout the day. The time you spend at home resting and getting better will make playing email catch-up a breeze.

You should also reconsider running errands while you’re sick– you’ll be spreading your germs to strangers when you touch shopping carts and products on shelves.

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