One of the places you are most likely to contract the flu is at work. And a Baylor Scott & White doctor recommends precautions become part of your daily routine.
“If we shake hands, when we shake hands, that’s where the biggest risk of germs is,” said Dr. Roger Khetan.
Those hands, filled with coughs and sneezes, make their way to shared computer keyboards and phones, which he recommends we sanitize as often as we can.
“You want to sanitize your phone speaker and your ear (piece),” he said. “Because a lot of times, you’ll be like touching it,” he said of the earpiece portion of the phone. “So if you were a germaphobe or someone who is really worried about germs, yes. You would freak out, because usually, it’s computer desks, people typing,” he said of the WFAA newsroom and its similarities to most other office environments.
“People always go, 'I must have got the flu from flying. I must have got it from this person.' No, you probably got it from your normal day routine and not washing your hands,” he said.
An office coffee pot can be flu-central, given the number of hands, washed and unwashed, that might touch the coffee pot handle each day.
“I’m not a germaphobe, but I’m feeling a germaphobe right here,” he laughed while looking at our newsroom coffee pot.
So, consider sanitizing coffee pot handle before you touch it. The doctor also recommends using a paper towel to protect your hand when opening or closing a public bathroom door.
A word of warning, there’s no guarantee. Even this doctor, just a few months ago, also got the flu. “I think most people get the flu. You’re human, you get the flu," he said.
Sanitize surfaces other people might touch. Cough into your sleeve, not your hands. And if you do get the flu, stay home until you don’t show any symptoms at all.
“Most people who get the real flu, influenza A or influenza B, are out for about five to seven days,” he said.
To avoid spending those days away from work? The top three ways to avoid the flu are to wash your hands, wash your hands and wash your hands.
“So if I’m washing my hands, especially during flu season, that does not make me a germaphobe…that makes me what?” WFAA asked him.
“Smart. I call you a very intelligent man," he said.
Intelligent – and hopefully flu-free.