The Coronavirus: How to Protect Yourself in the Workplace
Kingston February 11, 2020: Doctors from the Pure Jamaica Medical Centre want to advise the public how to best protect themselves at work during this flu season and the current the novel Coronavirus (2019 n-CoV) scare. The best way to reduce your risk of exposure to any flu virus in your workplace is to use the basic hygiene precautions listed below and to avoid close contact with ill people. If your job involves contact with patients or other healthcare services, then you may need to take additional precautions.
Pandemic flu should be a concern for workers and employers. A pandemic can occur at any time and can be mild, moderate, or severe. Your employer’s pandemic flu plan should be based on a “worst-case” scenario – one in which the virus causes severe illness and death in larger numbers of people. Planning for the worst-case ensures that employers will have the right type of air filter, sanitizing and hand wash equipment and enough of it on hand to protect you. It also ensures that employers have planned for additional control options so that they can pick the right combination for the specific pandemic flu virus. You may have additional planning considerations too. For example, you may need to think about what you’ll do if schools and daycare facilities are closed.
Protect Yourself During Flu Season
Stay at home if you are sick. The CDC recommends that workers who have a fever and respiratory symptoms stay at home until 24 hours after their fever ends (100 degrees Fahrenheit [37.8 degrees Celsius] or lower), without the use of medication. Not everyone who has the flu will have a fever. Other symptoms could include a runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting. Call 1876 615 4000 to speak to a Pure Jamaica Health Care professional at the first sight of flu symptoms.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve(s). Throw tissues into a “no-touch” wastebasket.
Clean your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
When using soap and water, rub soapy hands together for at least 20 seconds, rinse hands with water, and dry completely.
If soap and water are not available, use of an alcohol-based hand rub is a helpful interim measure until hand washing is possible. When using an alcohol-based hand rub, apply liquid to palm of hand, cover all surfaces of the hands with the liquid, and rub hands together until dry.
Keep frequently touched common surfaces (e.g., telephones, computer equipment, etc.) clean.
Try not to use a coworker’s phone, desk, office, computer, or other work tools and equipment. If you must use a coworker’s equipment, consider cleaning it first with a disinfectant.
Avoid shaking hands or coming in close contact with coworkers and others who may be ill.
Stay in shape. Eat a healthy diet. Get plenty of rest, exercise, and relaxation.
Contact Pure Jamaica Medical Centre to speak with a doctor and find out if you are in a high risk category for seasonal flu (e.g., elderly, pregnant women, small children, persons with asthma, etc.).
Participate in any training offered by your employer. Make sure that you understand how to stay healthy at work.
Pure Jamaica Medical Centre, located at suite 7 of The Stantons at 1 Stanton Terrace, wants you to contact them at the first sight of the flu. In fact, Carmen Clarke administrator at the Medical Centre explains that at Pure Jamaica Medical they “emphasizes preventive medicine and comprehensive up-to-date disease treatment, in a patient friendly and cost effective environment.” She states further that “the Medical Centre prides itself on its promotion of healthy living in conjunction with medical care.” To that end they have been keeping social media followers up to date with local and international health news including the close monitoring of the Coronavirus and prevention tips to build awareness and help mitigate any local fallout.
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