4 Things to Keep at Your Desk If You’re Back in the Office and Afraid of Catching a Cold
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people recover from the common cold within seven to 10 days. While there are several preventive measures you can take to protect yourself and others from getting and spreading a cold (such as regular hand-washing, avoiding close contact with those who are ill, and coughing/sneezing into your shoulder), there are a number of items that may help your efforts as well.
Here are four things to store at your desk if you’re headed back to the office and afraid of catching a cold.
Hand Sanitizer (the Right Kind!)
Hand sanitizer is a great cold-fighting addition to your workspace, offering a quick and convenient way to kill cold-causing germs in between meetings. That said, you need to make sure it’s the right kind of sanitizer. “Make sure you have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol and rub your hands together until they are dry,” says Dr. Vivek Cherian, a Chicago-based internal medicine physician. “Also, don’t forget that nothing beats washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.”
A High-Quality Face Mask
Face masks do more than just protect against the COVID-19 virus; they offer protection from many illnesses, including the common cold. “Continue to have high-quality masks at all times when around co-workers,” Cherian recommends. A high-quality face mask is one that is well-fitting (meaning it doesn’t have gaps). N95 and KN95 masks offer the best protection against COVID-19, but surgical masks are also a great option.
Disinfectant Cleaner and/or Wipes
Regularly wiping down your workspace is a great way to dodge cold-causing germs. Focus on disinfecting high-traffic areas, such as the kitchen, and high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs and your computer keyboard. This helps prevent the spread of the common cold and other viruses that may be lingering around the office.
An Air Purifier
Last but not least, an air purifier is a great product to add to your back-to-work arsenal. “An air purifier can be a great new addition to your workspace, as they help reduce the airborne particles (including viruses) in a confined space such as an office cubicle,” says Cherian.
Cherian does stress that using an item like an air purifier without implementation of other best safety practices will make those products less effective. “Remember… the key is using an air purifier in combination with public safety measures (wearing masks, washing your hands, socially distancing — particularly from individuals who you don’t know their vaccination status) to have the optimal protection,” he says.