Helpful hints: H1N1 in the workplace

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10-26-09 Feature Story:

The best strategy to reduce the risk of becoming ill with pandemic influenza is to avoid crowded settings and other situations that increase your risk of exposure to someone who may be infected.

If you must be in a crowded setting, minimize your time there. Some basic hygiene and social distancing precautions that can be used in every workplace include the following:

  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or with a hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve; dispose of tissues in no-touch trash receptacles
  • Wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
  • Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with coworkers and customers
  • Avoid shaking hands and always wash your hands after physical contact with others
  • If wearing gloves, always wash your hands after removing them
  • Keep frequently touched common surfaces clean; this should include telephones, computers, copiers, fax machines, etc.
  • Try not to use other workers' phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment
  • Minimize group meetings; use e-mails, phones and text messaging; if meetings are unavoidable, avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with others and ensure that the meeting room is properly ventilated
  • Limit unnecessary visitors to the workplace
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle; attention to rest, diet, exercise and relaxation helps maintain physical and emotional health

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