Health

The Habits of People Who Never Get Sick at Work

If there were ever a person whose powers most closely mimic those of a real-life superhero, it’s the guy who struts around the office looking great and feeling healthy in the thick of cold and flu season. He's invincible, impervious to flying germs, and so happy that you want to slap that silly, I-feel-like-a-million-bucks smile right off his face. Seeing as HR might not take too kindly to your slapping a coworker as he cheerfully strolls by your slumped-over, snot-dripping self, it's probably better to steal his secrets. If you can’t beat ‘em (because you literally won’t be able to due to a sickly lack of energy and current state of not giving a shit), join ‘em. According to Amesh A. Adalja, board-certified infectious disease physician at the University of Pittsburgh, here are six tips to keep you from falling victim to the office bug.

They don't use communal plates, mugs, or other dishes

Swapping spit is a terrible idea, and I’m not talking about in-office make-out sessions (though these usually should be avoided as well). Think before you pick off your friend’s plate or take a sip out of his coffee cup. He may look fine, but because it’s prime time for catching a bug, he might have dormant germs that haven’t turned into symptoms... yet.
 

They get more sleep during sick season

Getting run down happens more easily when you’re not catching those sacred zzz’s every night. Don’t skimp on your beauty rest, and if your significant other is on the verge of getting sick, hold off on the pillow talk for now.

They get vaccinated

Don’t sit on your butt and wait around for the flu to catch you. Get ahead of the possibility of snagging the sickness by getting a flu shot. “Make sure you’re vaccinated against influenza at the beginning of the season,” Dr. Adalja says, “as it takes two weeks to get protection.” What’s worse -- a quick shot in the arm or a week stuck in bed?

They wash their hands often

This one should be more obvious than it is to some people. Ever have a coworker who thinks nothing of sneezing into his hand before shaking yours? Yeah, it’s kind of unbecoming. “Wash your hands frequently when in respiratory virus season or exposed to sick people," Dr. Adalja advises, but really it's a good idea to wash your hands all year long. It’s also smart to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at your desk, too.

They stay away from the phlegmbots

People who are coughing, sneezing, or vomiting (obvi) are to be avoided at all costs. Even if someone claims to be fine, we all know people can bend the truth when it comes to their current state of health at the workplace. Stay far, far away from individuals whose bodily fluids are flying around the air, because, well, ew.

They... work from home!

Now here’s a recommendation we can really get behind. Unless it’s absolutely imperative that you show face for your office to function properly, take a day to do your job from home. Not everyone has this luxury, of course, but if your livelihood doesn't depend on your being there whether you’re sick or not, call the boss in your most strained voice, or shoot a quick email in between barfs, and let him know it’s best you work from home. And don’t get out of your pajamas all day.  
 
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Julie Peirano is a freelance writer who often works from home in hopes of avoiding the obvious, but when she does get sick, she believes whiskey is usually the best remedy. Follow her: @JuliePeirano.