A recent online survey by Cintas Corporation found that 84 per cent of employed adults in the US admit to having gone to work while sick.

What’s worse is that almost half of them never warned their coworkers about their illness, making it easier to spread a bug around.

But with most cold and flu bugs lingering as long as 10 days, many employees except those who can work from home aren’t left with much choice but to return to work before their system is clear.

Plus the study revealed that 65 per cent of employees feel it is only necessary to stay home between one and three days with the flu, when experts say the flu virus can be contagious for one day before symptoms develop and up to seven days after becoming sick.

If your workplace is a symphony of coughs and sneezes this flu season, here are five simple ways to reduce your risks of getting sick yourself.

1. Beware of common items
Germ hotspots include sink faucet handles in the break room, microwave door handles, and your office keyboard. Wash your hands after touching common items like the refrigerator, microwave, door handles, and faucets, said Cheryl Luptowski, public information officer at NSF International, according to Working Mother.

2. Wash your hands
It’s worth repeating: wash your hands after lunch, after meetings, after using shared office equipment, and after shaking hands with people, Luptowski adds. Use warm water and soap and lather up for at least 20 seconds, advises the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
3. Disinfect the objects you touch. Once a week wipe down your keyboard, mouse, phone, and even the outside of your reusable water bottle, advises blog FitSugar.

4. Stay hydrated
Staying well hydrated can help your immune system do its job, as does getting adequate sleep and reducing stress, adds Luptowski. Keep a bottle or glass of water at your desk. Other option: drink herbal teas.

5. Don’t touch your face

This is a hard one, but avoid touching your face, rubbing your eyes, and biting your nails ever to avoid giving germs direct access to your body. If you have to, wash your hands before doing so, advises Luptowski. — AFP RELAXNEWS