It might seem like avoiding the annual cold or flu is impossible, especially if you work in a close-knit office, for example, where the kitchen, café, photocopiers and even the conditioned air you breathe are all for communal use.

But the first spluttering coughs and wheezes of the season don’t have to mean that everyone in the workplace has an unavoidable date with the doctor. Take a look at our survival guide to help you avoid going down with the big sneeze this winter.

  • Get a flu jab to help minimise your chances of going down with this annual horror. Some workplaces offer a flu jab clinic but if not, you should be able to organise it through your GP.
  • Keep it clean! Make sure your desk is free of clutter and food and use anti-bacterial wipes to kill off any lurking bacteria. Your keyboard is likely the worst culprit for harbouring germs simply because you touch it all the time – remember to give it a clean once or twice a week to see off those invisible assailants.
  • Let’s have a show of hands . . . keep them clean – it’s that simple! Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face to minimise the possibility of transferring any bacteria on your fingers to your face.
  • Sanitise for extra security. Keep a mini bottle of hand sanitiser on your desk and use frequently – especially after touching anything used by lots of people such as the photocopier, kettle in the kitchen or the coffee machine.
  • Prevention is better than the cure! Stash some fizzy vitamin C tablets in your draw and keep the sniffles at bay. Have one each morning when you get to work to kick your immune system into action.
  • Get fit and stay healthy. Making sure you are in good health can make all the difference to keeping the dreaded diseases at bay during the winter months. If your diet is healthy and you exercise regularly, you are less likely to fall foul of the flu so make sure you keep up with keeping fit all year round.

Lastly, if you do find yourself falling foul of the flu, don’t be a martyr and struggle into work – you won’t win any awards for being the source of the infection that spreads through the workplace like wildfire. Do yourself and your colleagues a favour and stay at home in the warm while you recover.