‘Tis the season to be jolly, but ‘tis also the season for colds and flu. That makes it the season to practice cold and flu etiquette for your sake and that of others.
While you are spreading joy and goodwill, be careful that you are not spreading germs as well.
At this time of the year we are most likely to find ourselves celebrating in large groups or traveling in close quarters as on planes, trains and buses. Now is when good manners and good health go hand in hand.
Here are 12 tips to keep yourself and others healthy and flu-free during the holidays and over the next few months.
1. Get your flu shot. You are not only protecting yourself by doing so; you are also being considerate of others and sparing them the misery of this inevitable winter illness.
2. Avoid the holiday party if you are sick. Staying at home is your seasonal gift. It’s one excuse the boss and co-workers will appreciate.
3. Don’t prepare food for a party. If you are asked to bring a dish of some sort, buy one that is already prepared. Your flu germs should not be the secret ingredient.
4. Double-dipping is a no-no under the best of circumstances but especially if you don’t feel well.
5. Cough or sneeze into your elbow, awkward as it may seem. You will spread fewer germs that way. Coughing or sneezing into your hand offers a whole host of ways to pass on germs.
6. Carry a supply of tissues with you. Carefully discard used ones and wash your hands.
7. Wash your hands often. You can’t do it too many times all year long but particularly during flu season. Wash them before you eat or drink. Do it before and after you shake hands.
8. Have hand sanitizer with you at all times. It is a quick and convenient way to prevent the spread of germs.
9. Use your hand sanitizer to wipe off any work surfaces you touch to keep yourself and others safe.
10. Don’t even think of shaking hands if you don’t feel well. Others will appreciate your saying, “Please forgive me for not shaking your hand, but I haven’t been feeling well.”
11. Excuse yourself from the room or the table if you are having a coughing or sneezing fit. No one else needs to be subjected to your performance.
12. Call in sick when you have a cold or the flu. You may not want to use up your paid time off or you may need to work on an important project, but you are not doing yourself or anyone else a favor by showing up ill.
Back to No. 1: This tip cannot be over-emphasized. Get your flu shot so that you and those around you are protected from the miseries of the flu. The holidays and winter months should be enjoyed, not endured.
Who would have thought that there was indeed etiquette of cold and flu season?
Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, professional speaker, trainer and author. Contact her at 912-598-9812 or visit her at LydiaRamsey.com to leave a comment, ask a question or learn more about her programs and products. More business etiquette information is available in her best-selling books Manners That Sell – Adding the Polish That Builds Profits and in Lydia Ramsey’s Little Book of Table Manners.