Flu season is here, bringing many exasperating episodes full of hoarse coughs, itchy sneezes, endless sniffles and wearisome sighs swiftly sweeping throughout the office. Drinking ample amounts of water during this flu season is critical in order to stay healthy. Yet, the office water cooler is commonly a location where cross contamination occurs — creating an ideal environment for bacteria and viruses to thrive and increasing the chances of employees becoming sick as a result.

Water treatment dealers must educate their customers on proper maintenance of water systems to reduce the chances of cross contamination and ensure optimal system performance.

According to experts we have interviewed in previous articles featured in Water Technology, water coolers should be cleaned at least once a year, keeping in mind the environment in which the system is located and any local code requirements. Since the type, model and material of the equipment may vary, to ensure optimal, healthy operation, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s specific instructions, making sure to monitor how often the system should be cleaned. To safeguard that the water cooler/system is being properly cleaned and maintained, post an outline of the set cleaning schedule as well as the maintenance/cleaning records on or around the water cooler.

 

Applying healthy choices this flu season

Besides simply following a set cleaning/maintenance schedule when it comes to the office water system, business owners, operators, managers and office employees can take many steps to reduce, or potentially even eliminate, the chances of a flu outbreak at work.

Here are a few ways to encourage a healthy workplace throughout the flu season:

  • Post health/safety signs around the office, especially in the office cafeteria, kitchen or anywhere employees most frequently visit.
  • Promote proper and frequent hand washing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) suggested hand washing guidelines can be found here.
  • Keep hand sanitizer and germ-removal sprays at employees’ desks, and also in the most regularly populated areas around the office.
  • If an employee does become sick, urge him or her to go home and rest. It only takes one person to infect the entire office.

The flu season does not have to equate a period full of sniffles, sneezes, aches and coughs, inflicting employees and decreasing productivity. Stay hydrated, and make sure to keep drinking water a healthy choice, not a health risk.

The October issue of Water Technology featured an in-depth article covering water cooler health during the flu season. You can find that entire article here.