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How to Avoid Getting Sick at Work

Zachary Scott- Getty Images

Being sick is terrible. You look horrible, feel bad and have to use your sick days recuperating. Sick of it all? Here’s how to wage germ warfare at the office.

Close your mouth. This is harder for some people than it is for others, but here’s why you should keep your mouth clamped: germs travel through the air. In fact, they can fly as far as 30 feet. So if you’re forced to sit near someone who’s coughing, wheezing, or sneezing, keep your mouth shut; it’s better to breathe through your nose where tiny hairs act as filters to keep out the germs.

Wash your hands. You get infected by touching hard surfaces: the coffee maker, the copy machine, and elevator buttons, where filthy, germ-encrusted co-workers have unintentionally left behind viral critters that can live for hours.
Hit the gym. Yeah, I know.  But moderate exercise two or three times a week will help ward off a cold. A light workout increases the circulation of your immune cells, boosting the chances that they’ll collide with and vanquish the virus.

Get a window seat. You want to avoid germ-filled air at all costs, so get to the conference room early for meetings and snag yourself a spot near an open window or an air vent. If you have to share an office with a sicko request a desk fan.

Have a party with your friends. More friends, fewer colds, according to a Carnegie Mellon University study; because your friends help you deal with immune-system-suppressing stress. And a couple of stiff drinks a day seem to help keep the colds at bay. (Some docs say alcohol hurts a cold virus’s ability to reproduce.) But the bartender should cut you off after two so you don’t get dehydrated.

Kiss someone hot. Good news: Lipsmashing is still safe, since 90 percent of cold viruses lurk in your boogers, not your spit.

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