10 Tips to Avoid Getting Sick at Work with RA
Leslie Rott | April 27, 2016
Reviewed by Diane M. Horowitz, MD on Aug 27, 2017
One hazard of having a job as a chronically ill person that healthy people might not have to consider is what to do when you are working with someone who is severely, acutely ill, and making sure you don’t get sick as a result. So what can you do if you have a compromised immune system and are working with someone who is acutely ill?
Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands
One of the best ways of preventing illness is to wash your hands. In the winter, when people are more likely to get sick, it can be annoying to vigorously wash your hands because it dries them out. But it’s important to continue using either soap and water, or hand sanitizer, to try and prevent illness. Having lotions in your work station can help keep your hands moisturized.
Load up on vitamins
If you are a person that relies on vitamins to keep you healthy, you definitely want to make sure to load up on vitamins to prevent illness. Vitamin C and Zinc have been known to bolster the immune system. Talk to your doctor before you add any kind of vitamin or supplement into your regimen.
Another easy way to prevent illness is to consume foods that are nutrient rich and will help to bolster your immune system. Everyone is different in terms of the foods that they can and cannot eat, so be sure to talk with your doctor before adding something completely new to your diet.
Avoid any unnecessary contact
If you are in a job where you are required to engage with other people, and this might involve hugging or shaking hands, you might want to cut down on any unnecessary contact with other people. Don’t be rude about it, but simply say that you have immune systems issues and as a general rule, you avoid any unnecessary contact with others in order to avoid getting sick.
Avoid the sick person
If washing your hands and/or loading up on vitamins does not work for you, you can always just try to avoid the sick person altogether. This is definitely not foolproof, and may be downright impossible, but if there is one person in particular that is sick, try to avoid them as much as possible. You could also communicate with the person (via phone or email) your circumstances to make sure both of you are on the same page.
Take your medications
Make sure that you are being consistent about following your regular medication regimen. You don’t want to rock the boat or invite infection in, so it is important to make sure you are taking your medications.
Or do not take your medications
On the flipside, if you believe that you are coming down with something or you, yourself, become acutely ill, you will want to check in with your doctor. Often times if you are sick, taking medications that tamper down your immune system can make it more difficult for you to fight infection. It is essential to talk to your doctor before you start skipping medication.
Wear a mask
If all else fails, wear a mask. This might be easier if you work in a hospital as opposed to an office, but if you are that susceptible to illness, you may have no other choice. This can be awkward, but you can justify it by saying that you are not sick yet, and in an effort to protect yourself, you are wearing a mask.
Work from home
If your job is flexible, and you are able to work remotely, working from home at times when you know there are sick people in your workplace, is one way to avoid illness. This might not be an option for everyone, but being in your own environment, away from others, is a solution for those who can.
Talk to your boss or supervisor
It is important that people in your workplace understand that your immune system is fragile. Your co-workers’ next cold or flu could be your next hospitalization, which will have a direct, negative impact on your ability to do your job.