How to prevent cold and flu this year:
What is your plan if you do get sick?
We’re in the midst of that time of year again. It’s the dreaded cold and flu season!
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that the flu causes U.S. employees to miss approximately 17 million workdays and an estimated $7 billion a year is lost in productivity (Centers for Disease Control, 2018). That is why it’s important to keep yourself healthy and also plan ahead for any time that you may be sick.
What if you become sick?
No one wants to get sick but the reality is that we all have days where we aren’t able to perform. When this happens, it’s essential that we have a plan so that our clients are taken care of and don’t suffer- and we’re able to take care of ourselves!
If you don’t have a plan for coverage in place, you can identify another local business owner or home care agency to partner with. You can work out a system and contract so that any time you are out of the office due to illness, the other business is able to handle any emergency issues. This provides the best possible service to your clients while ensuring that you have the time you need to recover.
In order to try and prevent any sickness this season, we have a list of ways to keep your immune system top-notch!
Keep a healthy diet
Most people turn to vitamin C after they have caught a cold but vitamin C can be used to prevent colds as well. It helps to increase the production of white blood cells; which are key to fighting infections. Try including foods that are high in vitamin C in your daily diet.
Turmeric has been found to be a way to enhance your immune system as well. It helps your immune system by modulating the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells.
Green tea is packed with flavonoids, which is a type of antioxidant. By drinking green tea it can help aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
Based upon the information from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, after the age of 18,they recommend that adults get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. By getting the recommended amount of sleep your body needs, your body will be able to better fight infection.
Handshaking dates back thousands of years as a way to greet someone. It plays an integral role in our daily lives and interactions with family, friends and colleagues. It’s a way of building rapport and trust with people and by ignoring a handshake, it can be viewed as impolite or rude.
Even though handshaking is seen as the proper etiquette to greet someone, it is the top way that we transmit bacteria.
Handshake Free Zones
There's an easy way to avoid some of the viruses and bacteria that spread: stop shaking hands!
Because research has shown that the amount of bacteria transferred through a handshake is twice as much when compared to a high five, healthcare providers are making “Handshake free zones.”
It’s been found that the “fist bump” is a more hygienic solution to handshaking. It dramatically reduces the transmission of infections among individuals (Mela, S; Whitworth, D. 2014).
Dr. Mark Sklansky, Professor and Chief, Division of Pediatric Cardiology at UCLA, helped to begin the “handshake free zone” when he conducted a six-month experiment in 2015. He chose the neonatal intensive care unit at UCLA’s hospital because infants are especially vulnerable to acquiring infections. Staff and families were recommended to stop all handshaking to help reduce the spread of germs.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Infection Control . Sklansky still discourages staff at UCLA to take part in handshaking. He feels that not only does it help to prevent the spread of germs but it also starts the conversation among clinicians and patients about hand hygiene in general, which can help to reduce infections.
When Neonatologist Joanna Parga, who was part of UCLA's handshake-free survey, first heard about the handshake free movement, she was not convinced that it was feasible. Because handshaking is ingrained in the western culture, she felt it would facilitate awkward interactions among clinicians and patients.
Pagra began introducing herself to each patient by saying "Hi. I'm Dr. Parga." “I'm not gonna shake your hand, I’m trying to prevent infections in the NICU” (Gorman, 2017). She found that this helped to make the “no hand shaking” normal and remove any any awkward tension.
How to implement the handshake free zone:
- Use the phrase: “It’s nice to meet you. I’m forgoing a handshake to keep from spreading germs.”
- Use the phrase: “I’m just getting over a cold, and I don’t want to spread my germs, so I’m going to refrain from shaking your hand.”
- Print a poster for your office saying “Handshake free zone. I care about you too much to spread germs.”
- Print out or order these free posters from the CDC on handwashing and hang them around your office to remind patients and staff the importance of handwashing: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/posters.htm
Let us know in the thread below how you’re staying healthy and the backup plan you are implementing in your business!
Centers for Disease Control (2018). Influenza in the Workplace. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/flu/activities.html
Centers for Disease Control (2018). HAI Data. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/hai/data/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fhai%2Fsurveillance%2Findex.html
Gorman, A. (2017). Handshake-free Zones Target Spread of Germs in the Hospital. Retrieved from: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/05/29/529878742/handshake-free-zones-target-spread-of-germs-in-the-hospital
Mela, S; Whitworth, D. American Journal of Infection Control. 2014, Volume 42, 916-917. The fist bump: A more hygienic alternative to the handshake. Retrieved from: https://www.apic.org/Resource_/TinyMceFileManager/Fist_bump_article_AJIC_August_2014.pdf
Parga, J; Valadez, M; Chang, R; Sarin-Gulien, A. American Journal of Infection Control. 2017; Volume 45, Issue 7, p787-792. Handshake-free zone in a neonatal intensive care unit: Initial feasibility study. Retrieved from: https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(17)30083-4/fulltext
World Health Organization (2019) Clean Care is Safer Care. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/gpsc/clean_hands_protection/en/
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