Ah, flu season. Why are you a thing?
I suppose it comes with the territory of being Canadian; as children strap on hockey skates and parents pull on their warmest toques, so shall the influenza virus make its way through schools, businesses and homes alike. It’s clockwork, it takes no prisoners, and it really, really has poor timing – striking when you’re mostly likely to least expect it.
(Well hello there, co-workers! Stock photos like this exist for a reason!)
Yes, flu season is here, and there IS such a thing called Sick-Etiquette. Simply stated, it’s a collection of unspoken rules that you should abide by during cold and flu season, and I’m happy to share them with you today!
1. If you’re Canadian and you know it, wash your hands! It’s one of the easiest ways to stop the spread of the cold and flu viruses. And when flu prevention experts advise you do wash your hands, they don’t mean a drizzle of water and quick swish of soap, either. Use warm water, create a good lather, and just to be on the safe side, sing the alphabet song in your head. Only then can you effectively sanitize your hands and keep germs at bay.
2. You are replaceable. Everyone is replaceable. Coming to work when you’re sick is not going to change that. In fact, I’m fairly certain that your employer would prefer that you stay home and recuperate rather than infecting half the workforce with your H1N1-type germage. And if you do work for a boss who’s laying on the guilt for missing work? My advice is to spend 30 minutes in a closed-door office with them upon your return.
3. Sneeze and sleeve rhyme, sort of, for a reason. Viruses are most frequently transmitted (up to six feet!) via droplets in the air, especially after a person sneezes. Cover it up! Sneeze in your sleeve – or better yet, in a tissue, and dispose of the tissue immediately. The holiday season is all about sharing with others, but trust me, keep those germs to yo’self!
4. Disinfect your surroundings. At the office, this includes, but is not limited to, your hands, desk area, door knobs, light switches and of course, your phone and keyboard. At home, think about highly trafficked items such as remote controls, bathroom fixtures and dining surfaces.
5. Get the flu shot! Of course you should get the flu shot! Getting the flu shot is your best defense against the flu, and this year it’s more convenient than ever – simply pop in to your participating neighbourhood Shoppers Drug Mart. Remember, since the virus that causes the flu changes from year to year, the flu vaccine you received last year may not protect you this year. Flu vaccinations will be offered at Shoppers Drug Mart stores in the fall and will be administered to people aged 5 and above (9 and above in Alberta and Saskatchewan; 7 and above in Manitoba). Click here for more information.
Tell me, do you have anything to add to my list of Sick-Etiquette? Do tell!