Skip to content

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Prevent Flu: Steer Clear of Sick People

When flu infects your friend or co-worker, how close is too close?

Making It Work at the Office: Sickies in the Cubicle

If you haven't hauled yourself into the office, even though you knew you had a flu bug, you're in the minority. "Presenteeism" -- when sick people show up for work -- is a real problem in American offices.

"Companies may want to adopt health policies encouraging workers to get a note from a physician excusing them from work," says Schwartz. "But most employers would be afraid to do that because absentee rates would go up. Some people would go to work even if they were dying because they're afraid of the boss."

People have to use common sense, he says. "A flu shot is a good idea, but it only protects you from a few viruses that the CDC has identified. I hear it all the time, people get the flu shot but got sick anyway."

Making It Work at School: Toy-Toting Flu Germs

In day care facilities and schools, it's equally difficult to protect against flu infection, says Brownfield. If one child is carrying a flu bug, everyone is exposed. Studies show that day care centers are prime breeding grounds for the flu virus with all that toy-sharing, sneezing, and coughing in close quarters.

Some viruses can live from 20 minutes to two hours or more on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks, the CDC reports.

For seasonal flu, getting children vaccinated is the best start. But what else can you do? You just go back to the basics. "Hand washing is extremely effective in limiting spread of the disease," says Schwartz. "Teachers may need to be reminded, and so do kids."

1 | 2
Reviewed on October 01, 2010

Today on WebMD

hot toddy
15 tips to help you feel better.
man sneezing into elbow
Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
 
teen girl coughing
Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
elder berry
Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
 
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
Slideshow
cold weather
VIDEO
 
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Article
Boy holding ear
Slideshow
 

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

woman receiving vaccine shot
Article
woman with fever
Article
 
Waking up from sleep
Article
woman with sore throat
Slideshow