Whether you realise it or not, everyone has habits. While some can be good, there are a lot of bad ones as well which can increase your risk of infection.
Here are a few common examples and ways to avoid them.
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Not washing your hands after touching communal things
We use our hands for almost everything. So it’s no wonder why it’s one of the most common areas to pick up bacteria.
From touching your pet to simply using a stapler in the office, most items or things anyone can touch will contain bacteria.
Naturally, the best solution is to wash your hands at any given chance. However, this isn’t always possible when you’re out and about. As an alternative, purchase an array of hand sanitizers to place in different rooms and areas you spend the most time in.
If you have a cold, how often do you use a tissue and place it back into your pocket again?
After blowing your nose, bacteria can live for up to a few hours on the tissue, meaning you will not only be exposing your body to it again, but also to others around you too.
Your hands will then pick up the bacteria and can be spread by touching anything around you. This is usually why the common cold does its rounds when you work in an office environment.
The solution is simple: use it, bin it, replace it.
Going into work when you’re ill
The word ‘presenteeism’ is a term used to describe an employee who goes into work despite being unwell.1
It’s also a huge reason why infections spread and employers suffer from poor productivity. If you’re ill, stay at home. One employee working three days with maximum productivity is better than one employee working five days at 60-75% health and spreading it to multiple others around the office.
Not cutting your nails
Your fingernails are a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, with many harbouring in the nail beds. By simply rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth, you could transfer all of those bad things to other areas of the body. This can, therefore, lead to infections and illness.
Try to always keep your nails clean from dirt and nicely cut. The shorter they are, the less chance you have of picking up excessive amounts of harmful bacteria underneath them.
Top tips to break your bad habits
Whether you’re guilty of these examples or not, the same principles apply when it comes to breaking a habit.
Most habits are caused by triggers or cues. So for instance, if you reuse tissues after blowing your nose, it’s probably because you failed to pick up any fresh ones earlier in the day or you simply don’t wish to go to the toilet to replace it.
Instead, make a conscious effort to go to the toilet to blow your nose and you’ll have the opportunity to replace them and avoid disturbing other people.
If you’re always tempted to pop into your local convenience store for a packet of crisps on your journey home, take a different route. Or if you are constantly hungry, make sure you have a variety of healthy and nutritious snacks in your car, at your desk and in your cupboards. This way, you can satisfy your cravings without feeling guilty or feeding your habit.
The point is, if you avoid or alter the triggers or cues, you’ll break the habit.
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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.
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