The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Staying healthy during the winter period
This is the time of year when cold and flu viruses are on the increase.
Because students are returning to campus they may be bringing cold and flu viruses with them.
Viruses are spread through coughing and sneezing, or by touching a surface contaminated with viruses and then touching your nose, eyes or mouth.
You can protect yourself from cold and flu viruses by-
- Washing hands properly and frequently, and always before eating drinking or smoking.
- Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and then washing your hands.
- Wiping your nose using a single use tissue disposing of the tissue, and then washing your hands.
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth particularly after touching surfaces such as door knobs, light switches, telephones or money etc.
- Avoid biting your nails.
- When working in an area where you do not have instant access to soap and water use the hand hygiene gel provided frequently, particularly if handling money.
- A healthy diet and sufficient sleep are also important to help prevent colds and flu.
The Managing Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure should be followed for any absences and it is important you remain in contact with your department throughout your absence and ensure they have a contact telephone number for you.
Some facts about the Influenza virus
Influenza, usually known as the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by anyone of a number of influenza viruses including H1NI – Swine Flu. It is not uncommon for there to be more than one influenza virus circulating at any one time. Currently the main circulating influenza strains are influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B. This year’s ‘flu jab’ does include protection against H1N1 and has been offered via the GP to the vulnerable groups considered to be at increased risk. If you feel you maybe one of the ‘at risk group’ please consult your GP.
Flu can be caught by close contact with other infected persons; close contact is defined as within one metre for at least one hour.
The more likely route of transmission is picking the virus up on your hands from a contaminated surface and then transferring it to your mouth, nose or eyes where it can pass into the blood stream via the mucous membranes.
You can protect yourself against infection by following the above advice and further information can be found on the Occupational Health website.