5 Most Common Infectious Diseases Spread in Offices

19 12 2023
5 Most Common Infectious Diseases Spread in Offices

We all know the horror of walking into the office and being greeted by a chorus of coughs, sneezes, and sniffles - and of waking up the next day with a blocked nose and nasty headache.

Offices can be a breeding ground for germs, especially during cold and flu season. The close quarters of employees, coupled with shared surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, make it easy for illnesses to circulate. While some are mild, others can be a serious risk for your staff and visitors.

Knowing what diseases you might face gives you a better shot at keeping them at bay. Keep reading to discover the five most common diseases that spread in offices, what their symptoms are, and what you can do to prevent them.

What Infectious Diseases Are Most Commonly Spread in Offices?

1. Common Cold

If there's one illness that's sure to make the rounds in an office, it's the common cold - it's called "common" for a reason!

The common cold is a viral infection that causes a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, and low-grade fever. It can be spread through respiratory droplets from an infected person's cough or sneeze, or by touching contaminated surfaces.

Because of the sheer number of viruses that can trigger it, there isn't a cure for the common cold just yet. Luckily, it's usually mild enough to clear up after a few days of rest.

2. Influenza (Flu)

Like the common cold, the flu is a virus that spreads through respiratory droplets and touching contaminated surfaces. However, it comes with more severe symptoms, including fever, chills, muscle aches, and fatigue. In some cases, it can even progress to pneumonia, a serious condition that might require hospitalisation.

The good news is that getting a flu vaccine each year can significantly lessen the impact of the flu. You can get a free flu vaccine from the NHS if you meet certain criteria.

3. Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu)

Gastroenteritis is a viral or bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal cramps. Gastroenteritis is spread through contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.

Gastroenteritis is easy to confuse with food poisoning, as they share many of the same symptoms. The key factor is the time it takes for symptoms to appear. Stomach flu takes 12 to 48 hours to show, while symptoms of food poisoning kick in much faster - usually within 6 hours of consuming contaminated food.

4. Streptococcus (Strep Throat)

Strep throat, short for streptococcal throat infection, is a bacterial infection that causes a sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. It's primarily caused by the group A Streptococcus bacteria, specifically the strain Streptococcus pyogenes.

Strep throat can be spread through respiratory droplets from an infected person's cough or sneeze, or by sharing food or drinks. It can be treated by taking a round of doctor-prescribed antibiotics, usually penicillin or amoxicillin.

5. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Unless you were asleep for the whole of 2020, you'll have heard of this one.

COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory illness caused by SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus. Its most common symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

The virus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. It can also spread by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the face, although this is considered a less common mode of transmission.

COVID-19 can range from mild to severe, and some individuals may develop more severe respiratory symptoms or complications.

Thanks to efforts to control the spread of the virus, such as widespread testing, quarantine protocols, and the distribution of vaccines, COVID-19 is no longer considered a global emergency by the WHO. However, it still poses a risk to health, especially for those with underlying health conditions or older adults. You may qualify for a free vaccine from the NHS if you meet certain criteria.

How to Prevent the Spread of Infectious Diseases in Offices

Now that you've got a clearer picture of the diseases to keep an eye out for, you might be wondering how to prevent them. Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to minimise their spread:

  • Encourage employees to stay home when they're sick. This is the most important thing that can be done to prevent the spread of illness. When employees are sick, they should stay home and rest until they are symptom-free.
  • Promote good hand hygiene. Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, especially after coughing, sneezing, or using the restroom. It's also good to provide hand sanitiser stations in convenient locations throughout the office.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces regularly. This includes doorknobs, keyboards, phones, and other surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Encourage employees to get vaccinated. Vaccines are the best way to prevent diseases like influenza and COVID-19.
  • Promote healthy lifestyle habits. Employees should eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and get enough sleep. These habits can help to boost the immune system and make it more difficult to get sick.
  • Have your office professionally cleaned. Professionals have access to high-quality chemicals and equipment, meaning they can clean your office more thoroughly and provide better protection against the spread of diseases.

By following these tips, you can help to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in your office and keep your employees healthy and productive.

Keep Your Office Clean and Healthy with Dorset Commercial Cleaning

At Dorset Commercial Cleaning, we know how important a tidy office is for the health and wellbeing of your staff. Our experienced team have been professionally cleaning Dorset offices for years, using the latest products and equipment for top-quality results. From floors to light fixtures, you can count on us to thoroughly clean every inch of your workplace.

Our range of services include:

  • Vacuuming and mopping all floors
  • Sanitising desks, counters, keyboards, and phones
  • Emptying rubbish and recycling bins
  • Dusting overhead vents and lights
  • Cleaning windows, breakrooms, and restrooms

We customise our process for your office's specific needs and layout, so you can be sure of a fully comprehensive service. Our attention to detail helps prevent the spread of illness while creating a crisp, refreshed office environment for staff and visitors to enjoy.

Book our services online or call us on 01202 986700 today. We'll be glad to help protect the health of your staff the best we can.

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