Winter is coming! With that brings ringing bells of never-ending sniffles, coughs and sneezes ushered in by cold and flu season. While that sweet symphony is all too reminiscent, this is the first time we’ll be experiencing cold and flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence it’s especially crucial right now that we prepare to reduce the chance of catching a virus and the spread of infection. Those suffering respiratory-related illnesses, chronic illnesses as well as older aged populations may be at increased risk of severe complications from flu.
At FineCare Disability Services, we are continually working above and beyond to ensure the safety and wellbeing our participants and staff. So we’ve rounded our eight simple tips to protect our team and participants and beat cold and flu season this year. Now is time to be proactive to stay healthy!
Get your flu shot.
While it’s not a guarantee you won’t fall ill, research shows that getting the jab reduces your chances of catching the flu by between 50 – 60 %. Not only is it the best way to protect yourself, but it also prevents severe complications if you do get sick and lowers the spread of infection. We encourage all staff to get vaccinated as well as our participants if safe to do so. Vulnerable and high-risk populations may also be eligible to get it for free under the National Immunization Program.
Stock up on supplies and essentials.
To minimise exposure to the elements and others, get prepared and load up a range of hygienic products that can be used to prevent transmission of cold and flu. This may include tissues, paper towels, hand sanitisers and disinfectants. Equally important is keeping the cabinet stocked with needed medications and decongestants.
Maintain strictness with hand-washing.
While everyone is sick of hearing it, regularly washing your hands remains one of the best ways to reduce the risk of infection. If you do touch surfaces in public spaces, avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose before washing your hands first. Fine Care staff are always to follow protocol and avoid cross-contamination on the job.
Plan for sick days.
We ask all team members experiencing flu-like symptoms to please stay home for the safety of others and our participants. We’ll suitably arrange a replacement until you recover. If participants are feeling unwell, immediately let us know so we can monitor the situation for their health and wellbeing.
Disinfect shared spaces
It is essential to clean regularly handled surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, remotes, screens and other high-touch areas that could be harbouring viruses. Our cleaning team will ensure special attention is paid to these areas.
Switching to paper goods.
In the case someone falls ill, it may be better to swap out commonly shared items such as hand towels for paper towels and glasses for paper cups. Disposable paper items are less likely to spread germs. Staff are to always cough into their elbow or a tissue to toss out instantly.
Stock the fridge and pantry with hearty goodness.
It may be beneficial to have your favourites stocked up during the winter months when you might need to recover or rest for a couple of days. Easy to go-to foods such as pre-made soups and healthy comfort food will assure a speedy recovery and happily nourished household.
Whether you’ve fallen ill or not, we should be supporting our bodies natural defence system with proper rest. Aim for 7-8 hours a night for a good nights sleep. To add further, always keep distance with others as the same COVID-19 distancing rules apply to reduce chances of catching the flu, especially at a participant’s home.
We hope these tips help you and your loved ones stay a little more germ-free this winter! Stay warm and safe.
Max Luciano | Support Coordinator