Imagine this: You are trying to rush out a report, but your co-worker next to you has the sniffles.
Each time you get down to work, your concentration is rudely interrupted by his sneezes.
Worst still, your neighbour, who seems to have the flu bug, is not wearing a face mask.
Unfortunately, you are stuck next to him for the rest of the day and the day after next... until he decides to take medical leave and go to the doctor.
Flu is passed through inhalation of air droplets which are released when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. Or by touching contaminated surfaces such as tables, arm rests or door handles in an office.
A carrier of Influenza may display symptoms of cough, sore throat, high fever, body aches or a stuffy nose.
A typical office is a perfect conduit for the virus to spread because of its confined space and poor air circulation.
While no one likes falling sick, there are some necessary precautions you can take to ensure you don't end up infecting those you care for, or even strangers. Here are some tips for germ- free social responsibility:
1. Keep your hands clean
Your hands may frequently come in contact with contaminated surfaces which have been exposed to germs. It is important to wash them regularly and thoroughly with soap to maintain good hand hygiene.
If washing facilities are not readily available where you are, use a hand sanitiser to maintain hand hygiene.
2. Get vaccinated
The flu vaccination is strongly recommended for:
• The elderly and their caregivers
• Very young children, aged 6 months to 5 years
• People with low immunity (e.g. on cancer treatment) or chronic diseases such as diabetes
Pregnant women, healthcare workers and travellers will also benefit from the flu vaccine.
Unless advised otherwise, it is also recommended to go for flu vaccination to protect yourself from the various flu viruses.
The flu vaccination is easily available at all polyclinics and most private clinics. Ask your doctor for more information.
3. Go to your doctor early
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, seek treatment from a doctor early, and wear a mask until you have recovered.
4. Stay at home
If you are unwell, opt to rest at home instead of going to the office or crowded places to prevent the spread of the virus to others.
If you are already at the office, then take medical leave and excuse yourself for the rest of the day. Reschedule your work plans or meetings to avoid spreading the virus to others.
5. Use a tissue or wear a mask
Bring along a mask when you go out and wear it in public until you have recovered. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
This prevents the release of respiratory droplets into the air. Dispose of the used tissues into a covered dustbin and wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer after doing so.
With good social hygiene habits, we can keep ourselves and those we care for safe from flu. We can do our bit to stop the spread.
For more information, visit www.hpb.gov.sg or call 1800 223 1313.