How norovirus and flu spread through offices like wildfire – from office snacks to your desk – Live


OUTBREAKS of nasty winter bugs have already closed schools and hospital wards across the UK  But as temperatures plummet there are steps we can all take to avoid a bout of norovirus or flu, experts say  One of the first places to start, is at work, says Boots pharmacist Janky Raja  She warned winter bugs can rampage through offices if basic hygiene measures are put in place  Top of the list of things to watch out for are office snacks, communal mugs and dirty keyboards  Janky says: “From coughs and colds to norovirus and flu, there’s a whole host of bugs in the air over the winter months and as some health problems can be triggered or worsened by cold weather, now is the time to take steps to help prevent the office bugs ”  Here, she shares her tips to avoid being struck by a nasty bug in the run up to Christmas 1. Office snacks  With Christmas just round the corner, everyone’s offices are quickly filling up with festive snacks  However, Janky says that indulging in these treats can increase your risk of getting winter bugs  She says: “Avoid office snacks, not only will passing up on the team’s festive treats reduce your sugar intake but if someone who is ill has touched the food it can become contaminated  “The immune system also relies on a healthy diet to provide the nutrients it needs for optimum function, so eating a balanced, varied diet really does go a long way  “Make sure the foods you eat are rich in vitamins such as vitamin B6, B12, C, and D and minerals such as zinc and folic acid, which all work to support your immune system ensuring it works the best it can ” 2. Mugs and cutlery  We all need a tea-round or cup of coffee to keep up going throughout a busy day of work  But it might be about time you start using your own mug and kitchen utensils – rather than sharing with colleagues  Pharmacist Janky says shared cups and cutlery are covered in germs – and one of the main ways bugs like flu and norovirus spread  She urges: “Use your own mugs and cutlery and avoid sharing with colleagues. Top tips to protect yourself from norovirus 1 Wash hands   Wash your hands thoroughly after going to the loo, before you handle or eat food and after you empty a potty  2. Clean surfaces  Clean surfaces including toilet handles, taps and door handles regularly with disinfectant  3. Steer clear of others  Avoid close contact with other people who are sick, or coughing and sneezing a lot  4. Wash fruits and cook seafood thoroughly  Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them and make sure oysters and other shellfish are cooked thoroughly  5. Wash laundry well  Try to wash items of clothing with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and machine dry them if you can  “Research has found that 90 per cent of office mugs are covered in germs, so rather than using one from the office kitchen, try bringing your own one in and take it home each day to wash properly ” 3. Hand washing  We’ve all witnessed a colleague leave the bathroom without washing their hands  And it turns out that gross decision may be the reason people in the your office are picking up things like the flu and norovirus  Janky says: “Something that is often overlooked is simply to wash your hands regularly, as it helps kill germs  “Don’t just wash them after using the toilet, instead make sure you wash them with warm water and soap throughout the day and particularly before eating or after using communal areas ” 4. Dirty desks  If you look down at your office desk, you’ll probably notice it doesn’t look as spotless as it should do  In fact, dirty desks harbour 400 times more germs than a toilet seat – which can quickly spread among staff and cause an outbreak of sickness  A study of desks by office supplies firm Viking recently found germs in almost two-thirds of computer keyboards, while some even had mould growing underneath  Phones and desks also had germs, Viking found after analysing swabs sent in by hundreds of office workers  The average desktop harbours 20,961 germs per square inch in addition to 3,295 on the keyboard and 1,676 on a mouse and a staggering 25,127 on the phone – far more 127 germs per inch found on a toilet seat  Janky recommends:”It’s worth investing in some antibacterial wipes to clean your desk, keyboard, mouse and phone ” 5. Lack of sleep  If you’re too tired you’ll become much more susceptible to picking up winter bugs  Janky says: “Rest is so important and making sure you’re getting enough hours of sleep a night can help reduce daily stress levels and strengthen your immune system  “Allowing yourself to become run down means your body isn’t as capable of fighting off infection, so there’s no excuse to not put your feet up and relax ” 6. Flu jab  In order to maximise your chances of not getting the flu, doctors are urging people to get vaccinated against the flu virus  Janky says: “Get vaccinated against the flu virus as it is the most effective step you can take How can I get a free flu jab? The NHS offers a free flu jab to those most at risk of getting the virus  Children aged two and three years will be given the vaccine at their general practice – usually by the practice nurse  Young kids in school years one to three are likely to receive their vaccine at school  Pregnant women and anyone aged 65 and older are also eligible for a free jab.  People with long-term heart or respiratory diseases or weakened immune systems will also get a free jab  The vaccine for the over-65s has an extra ingredient to boost immune systems.  A jab which protects against four rather than three strains will be given to others at risk  So if you’re not in the above groups you can pay for a flu jab at certain stores  Superdrug is offering jabs at £9.99 for non-members.  Lloyds Pharmacy is also offering the vaccine fo £11 50 – and you don’t have to make an appointment.  Boots, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s all offer jabs which can cost up to £13  “If you’re entitled to a free NHS flu jab this can be administered at your local Boots pharmacy in England and Wales, as well as through your GP  “People living in Scotland and Northern Ireland can, if eligible, get the free NHS flu jab through their GP  “Customers aged 11 years and above can also access the private Boots Winter Flu Jab Service ” [pod_component pod_component_config_id=”UG3fVF3wW” pod_component_config_url=”https://www thesun.co.uk/nu-sun-pod-component-config-prod/UG3fVF3wW.json” pod_component_config_loader_url=”https://www thesun.co.uk/nu-sun-pod-loaders-prod/1.66.5/componentLoader.js?97713″ src=”https%3A%2F%2Fiframe thesun.co.uk%2Fnu-sun-pod-widgets-prod%2Fiframe-pod.html%3Fid%3DUG3fVF3wW%26script%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fwww thesun.co.uk%2Fnu-sun-pod-loaders-prod%2F1.66.5%2FcomponentLoader.js%3F97713%26config%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fwww thesun.co.uk%2Fnu-sun-pod-component-config-prod%2FUG3fVF3wW.json”]

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