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    8 ways to protect yourself during cold and flu season

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    It’s that dreadful time of year when your colleagues start falling victim to the much-feared cold and flu season. Being sick takes a lot out of you and can be harmful to productivity in the business too. While it’s not possible to completely prevent the spread of germs, following these simple steps could reduce your risk of getting ill.

    1 Wash your hands frequently
    When viruses are spreading like wildfire, washing your hands needn’t be reserved for bathroom breaks. Lather up whenever you use communal facilities, such as the kettle, the printer and any doorknobs. Try to remember to keep your hands away from your mouth and eyes if you’ve recently touched anything that might be infected – these are the gateway areas for germs.

    2 Keep disinfectants handy
    Cold and flu season is the perfect time to stock up on disinfecting wipes so you can have a quick tidy anytime a sick colleague touches something on your desk. It’s also important to keep communal surfaces clean using antibacterial products. If you can’t wash your hands frequently, keep some hand sanitiser at your desk.

    3 Take your vitamins
    Vitamin C gives your immune system a boost, but vitamin D is also key to keeping you healthy – especially as we need sunlight to produce it, and we all know the sun is practically non-existent in this country this time of year. Consider adding a supplement to your daily routine, as vitamin D helps your body absorb vitamin C and also keeps your bones healthy.

    4 Stay hydrated
    Drink plenty of fluids during cold and flu season – water, tea, juice – but try to avoid too much caffeine, as this can dehydrate you. This is another step that will keep your immune system in tip top shape.

    5 Eat a balanced diet
    Be sure to include plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables in your diet at this time of year. They’re a natural source of vitamins and minerals that can help your body fight off infections.

    6 Rest up
    Your body and brain both need sleep to function properly, so don’t have too many late nights during cold and flu season.

    7 Get a flu jab
    If you’re concerned about getting sick, it can’t hurt to have a flu jab. It’s quick, relatively painless and usually free at your local pharmacy. The vaccine is especially recommended for pregnant women, people over the age of 65 and anyone with a medical condition that weakens the immune system.

    8 Encourage sick colleagues to stay home
    Nobody likes falling behind on work because of a sick day, but it’s equally annoying to have a sniffling colleague at the office spreading germs. The best thing to do if you end up getting sick is to stay at home so you don’t risk infecting anybody else.

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson