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5 Ways Your Co-Workers Are Getting You Sick

Are your co-workers sabotaging your health?

You’re doing everything right: Getting your annual flu shot, washing your hands on the regular, and disinfecting surfaces like your life depends on it. And yet, you still get sick. What gives?

This time, maybe you really can get away with blaming your co-workers. Are your fellow office workers guilty of these five cold and flu transgressions?

1. They come to work even when they’re sick.

According to a recent survey, nine out of 10 office workers still come to work when they’re sick. Worse still, the same questionnaire found most people who go to work with a cold are well aware they’re risking infecting their co-workers.

2. They skip out on their yearly flu shot.

The CDC reports that a mere 43.6 percent of otherwise healthy American adults got their flu shot in 2014-2015. That might seem like a good chunk of the population, but breaking that statistic down further reveals the truth: Older adults, along with those at a high risk of developing the flu, are most likely to get the flu shot. In fact, only 32.6 percent of healthy adults between the ages of 18 to 49 got the flu shot in 2014-2015, compared to 47 percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 65. As few as one in three of your co-workers could be getting their flu shot.

3. They don’t wash their hands.

Basic, right? Turns out, hand-washing is a lot less common than we think. Though we all agree it’s a good idea — 92 percent of Americans say they think it’s important to wash their hands after using the bathroom — apparently only two out of three people actually do it, according to a Bradley Corporation study.

And that doesn’t mean they’re using soap. About 70 percent admitted that they’ve skipped out on the suds. That means that every time you touch something you’re co-worker has touched, you’re coming into contact with germs.

4. They touch everything.

Flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours. When your co-worker coughs, sneezes, or merely touches something — a doorknob, a chair, an iPad — they could be putting you at risk. It may sound harsh, but it’s best not to let anyone use your office or equipment during flu season.

5. They spread their germs all over the kitchen.

Most people don’t know it, but the kitchen sink is a common breeding ground for bacteria. There are an estimated 500,000 bacteria per square inch of the drain alone. Handles on refrigerators, toaster ovens, and microwaves are other common hubs for germs. During cold and flu season, avoid the kitchen or make it your mission to wipe everything down with antibacterial solution.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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