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4 Tips for Fighting Colds at the Office


The last time I was sick, I quarantined myself in my cube and announced, “I have a cold!” to anyone who came within 10 feet of my desk (and anyone whose hand I would normally shake). Maybe it seems a tad rude, but I think it’s only good sick etiquette to curb my contagion. I’ve also been adhering to these CDC-endorsed germ stoppers:

  1. Wash your hands often, for as long as it takes you to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice—the scrubbing action helps eliminate pathogens.
  2. Or use alcohol-based gel hand sanitizer. I’ve been keeping a big bottle next to my keyboard and using it before I pass on folders, or anything else I touch, to my office mates.
  3. Do the vampire: cover your nose and mouth with your elbow, instead of your hand, when you cough or sneeze and don’t have a tissue at the ready.
  4. Stay home! It’s best not to come into the office in the first place if you’re sick, obvi. So clearly I haven't followed this rule completely, but I will admit an afternoon on my couch watching a marathon of “Top Chef All-Stars” while in a cold medicine-induced haze did make me feel a little better—and saved my desk neighbors from listening to my incessant sniffling.

What’s your best sick etiquette tip—or pet peeve? More from FITNESS: 31 Instant Health Boosters (aka How to Not Feel Sick in the First Place!)