There are different types of cough. They are classified into types based on duration or length, the presence or absence of phlegm, and their causes.
Although most types of cough are not contagious, there is a kind that is communicable: the one caused by a respiratory tract infection.
Cough that accompanies or is caused by a cold or flu comes with a specific type of virus and germs. When you have a respiratory tract infection, your saliva and mucus contain infectious pathogens.
When you cough inside a room without covering your mouth, you will expel bacteria-filled droplets. Once they become airborne, the virus will survive for hours even after hitting a surface.
When the droplets are inhaled by other persons, the virus will settle onto cells at the back of their throat. It will then try to enter these cells and start reproducing.
If the person who inhaled them has a weak immune system and has breathed in a substantial amount of the virus, he or she will also fall ill.
How to Avoid Making Everyone in Your Office Sick
If you have a cough caused by a respiratory tract infection and you still have to go to work, your chances of spreading germs and getting your co-workers sick will be high.
To prevent the virus from spreading and help your colleagues avoid getting sick, follow these tips:
1. Avoid close contact with people in your office.
Whenever you are at the office, keep your distance. Do not go near other people even if you have to talk to or hand them something important.
Keeping your distance also means avoiding sharing anything with your co-workers. These include snack, and even phones and pens.
If you have to speak with or go near another person, put on a face mask first.
2. Do not cover your mouth and nose with your hands.
When coughing or sneezing, avoid using your hands to cover your mouth and nose. This is because using them will only cause the germs to spread through everything you touch.
To avoid spreading your virus, always cough or sneeze into a tissue. This means always keeping a pack of napkins on your table and pockets. Additionally, make sure to dispose of used tissues properly and immediately.
In case you don’t have any tissue, cough, or sneeze into your inner arm and clean the area soon after.
3. Avoid touching your face
Whether you are having coughing or sneezing fits or not, refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you do, you will cause more germs to spread whenever you touch doorknobs, phones, computer keyboards, and other equipment in your office.
When you touch your face frequently, you also increase the likelihood of picking up more germs yourself.
Avoid touching your face even if you recently washed your hands.
4. Wash your hands properly
Knowing the correct handwashing technique will help you avoid spreading germs. As such, learn how to wash your hands thoroughly for about 20 seconds and do it frequently.
And to ensure your hands are germ-free, apply moisturizing, alcohol-based hand sanitizer after washing with water.
5. Keep a pack of disinfecting wipes handy
Having a hand sanitizer at your desk, in your bag or pocket will prevent you from spreading the virus. Another option would be to have a pack of disinfecting wipes nearby or on your person always.
Use these wipes to sanitize shared workspaces such as the office break room or kitchen. In case you eat lunch at your desk, wipe down the area before and after with a disinfecting moist towelette. Do the same after touching the photocopier and other machines that your co-employees often use.
In case you don’t have a sanitizer, use a wipe to disinfect your hands after washing them.
6. Boost your immune system.
Getting better as fast as possible should be your priority when you have a cough.
To get rid of your cough and virus quickly, strengthen your immune system. This means eating plenty of immunity-boosting foods such as citrus fruits, berries, onions, garlic, and Brazil nuts.
Additionally, make sure you get enough rest and sleep every day. It is also best to avoid things and activities that can compromise your immune health, such as exposure to dust and air pollution, smoking, and excessive drinking.
Lastly, ensure you buy the best over-the-counter cough syrup and take it based on the label instructions or prescription of your doctor. If your cough seems to be getting worse, stay at home. Find out if you can work remotely for the time being to avoid infecting others in the office. Make sure you see your doctor as soon as possible as well.