Ah, fall. The time of year when pumpkin spice lattes are poured freely, weekday lunches are enjoyed outdoors in the brisk air and weekends are spent getting Insta-worthy snaps in pumpkin patches, apple orchards, farms and every other foliage-full place around. But it’s also the time of year when the climate is constantly changing. And thanks to summer, your body isn’t yet used to the drop in temp, let alone the frequently shifting conditions (like sweater weather in the am, and by midday you can’t believe you even wore that long-sleeved cashmere in the first place). This is what leads to you feeling under the weather, rather than savoring the crisp autumn weather like you should be. Below, we’re sharing how to avoid using up all your sick days in the first place, so you can be the healthiest one on the job.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but we really don't do it often enough. Of course, we should be washing our hands after we use a restroom, but how many times have you left the office for lunch and touched your credit card, doorknobs, elevator buttons, etc., and not paid a visit to a sink before you got back to your desk? All of those germs are now on your keyboard, your pens, your headphones and everywhere you just touched—eek! So remember to lather up with soap and wash off with water whenever you can.
For the times when you can't get to a sink (you're at a meeting and someone sneezes, running out to lunch, on the subway, etc.), make sure to have a hand sanitizer with you. They're small enough to be portable and go-anywhere, and they offer the germ-free peace of mind that you need during the season. But be sure to purchase one that's at least 60% alcohol. The CDC says that hand sanitizers with an alcohol concentration of 60-95% are way more effective at killing germs compared with those that have a lower alcohol concentration. Remember to also sanitize free weights and yoga mats when getting your sweat on at the gym. And your desk. Your colleagues will thank you.
Again, like washing your hands, this is up there with common sense. But if you see someone sick at work, don't sit by them. And try to make as little contact with them as possible. This helps prevent germs from spreading and will keep you healthy longer. Maybe you can offer them some of your hand sanitizer...from afar.
One of the most important things to remember is to protect yourself. And that means preparing for the season by getting a flu shot. It's a great preventative measure for stopping the spread of the flu (which is spread super easily by those who have it sneezing and coughing around you). It's contagious and causes fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, headaches and a slough of other symptoms that you definitely don't want to have. Just make sure you aren't allergic to any ingredient in the vaccine, which you can learn more about here.
There's nothing like following your intuition. This also goes for when you're just not feeling like yourself. If you're feeling run down, groggy, tired and like a cold is coming on, stay home and sleep! It's the fastest and most natural thing you can do to get your immune system back on track. Remember, this is what sick days are for. You don't have to use them strictly for when you already have a cold—use them for when you may feel one coming on, too.