Protect Yourself From The Coronavirus At The Office
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of over 3,000 people worldwide and infected more than 88,000. The virus has become a “public health emergency of international concern” and is expected to keep spreading beyond 2020. It can be hard to know where to start when trying to protect yourself from the coronavirus in your office and workspace. Maybe you work in a large corporate shared office, or you work from home, it’s important for you to feel confident and protected from this dangerous virus.
We know how important it is for you to stay healthy and be able to continue working, while doing everything you can to prevent yourself, your co-workers, and your family from being affected by the coronavirus. Here are 6 ways you can be intentional about your health, and the health of your co-workers and family to help protect yourself from the coronavirus at the office.
Use Common Sense
The health secretary in Washington State, Dr. John Wiesman said that in general, the public should “do what you do every cold and flu season.” The coronavirus behaves very similarly to the flu virus, and can be prevented in many of the same ways. By using common sense and by taking extra precautions in your office and personal workspace, you can protect yourself and help your coworkers keep the Coronavirus from spreading in your workplace.
If you are sick, stay home
Depending on your job, this can be difficult as we all need to work so we can provide for our needs. For many, staying home when you think you are sick means a lost day of pay, or using up a sick day. The novel coronavirus can be especially dangerous to those who already have weakened immune systems. If you are feeling sick, it is best to play it safe and stay home – for your protection and for your coworkers. Another option to help you not lose productivity, is to talk with your employer about working remotely from home while you are ill. Telecommuting is easier than ever these days and a great option to help you avoid potential health risks.
Wash your hands often
This should go without saying, but one of the biggest ways to help protect yourself from the novel coronavirus at work is to wash your hands thoroughly and often. Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is recommended by the CDC; especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Additionally, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Your hands touch many different surfaces throughout the day where it is easy to pick up viruses and become contaminated. Don’t have soap readily available? Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill any virus that may be on your hands.
Disinfect shared office supplies
If you share an office with multiple co-workers, it can be difficult to protect yourself from easily transferable viruses. One way that you can help protect yourself and your coworkers is to routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in your office. Look around your office and identify these surfaces, doorknobs, countertops, workstations, keyboards, elevator buttons, and the list could go on.
Make sure your personal workspace is clean
While you are keeping your shared office surfaces disinfected, you always will want to pay special attention to your own personal workspace. Whether you work from home, use a standing desk, or work at your local coffee shop, make sure that you wipe down all of your commonly used surfaces near and around your desk. Pay special attention to areas like doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks, phones and other office supplies.
Stay at least 3 feet away from anyone who may be infected
The World Health Organization recommends that you maintain a social distance, of about 3 feet between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. This can sometimes be easier said than done in a traditional workplace or a classroom, but the COVID-19 virus can be transferred by breathing in small liquid droplets from sneezes or coughs.
Commonly Asked Questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus:
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?
The symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and trouble breathing. The World Health Organization says “It can be more severe for some persons and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties.” In rare cases, the disease can be fatal. Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (like heart disease and diabetes) can become severely ill with the virus.
Should I immediately run out and buy a mask?
The CDC does not currently recommend N95 respirator masks for the general public. However, these masks are recommended for health care workers, and for those who show symptoms of COVID-19.
Practicing these tips will put you on a great path to intentionally protecting yourself from the deadly coronavirus. While these steps can help protect you and your coworkers from contracting the novel coronavirus, they are not a guarantee. If you feel like you have any of the symptoms listed above, or have possibly been infected, please see a doctor immediately.