When People Sick At Work Get You Sick

How Not To Get Sick At Work

How many times has this happened at your place of work? You notice that one of your coworkers is sick. Maybe not terribly sick, but definitely sick with something.

Maybe it’s a cold, or maybe it’s something worse. The thing is, they’re at work potentially (highly likely) spreading their ‘sick’ to others instead of staying at home until they’re better.

Why do we see people who are sick at work?

One guess is that they are either saving their “sick time” for vacation days or they’ve used them all up already.

Another guess is that they feel the need to be there otherwise some project doesn’t get done or that the place won’t function without them…

Yet another reason might be they’re oblivious to the fact that they might be contagious while not feeling ‘sick enough’ to stay home.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Especially during the Fall and Winter months lots of people come down with the common cold, the flu, or other such nasties.

We’re all trapped indoors and when there are lots of people together the odds go up that someone is going to spread being sick to lots of others.

When I used to work in an environment with lots of other people, I would regularly notice other people at work who were sick. Sometimes it was very obvious from their constant coughing and sneezing.

It is also apparent that people are the most contagious during the upstart phase of getting sick and may not even be fully aware themselves yet.


How To Avoid Getting Sick At Work

Here are a few health tips which if followed will reduce your chances of getting sick at work.

Avoid Others Who Are Sick!

When I noticed anyone who was sick, I would avoid them like the plague! If I had to be in the same room I would position myself as far away as I could.

If someone who is sick coughs or sneezes then you’re at the mercy of distance from that person and the HVAC system’s air flow (hopefully it’s not going by your face!).

Don’t Touch Contaminated Surfaces

Another effective way to avoid getting sick at work from a coworker (or anyone that you notice) is to understand that their ‘sick germs’ might be present on the surfaces that they touch or cough or sneeze onto. This depends on what they have, but it’s best to assume the worst.

So avoid touching any surfaces which may be contaminated. That would especially include door handles.

Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face

You won’t get sick by just touching a contaminated surface from a sick person, but you probably will get sick if and when your hand subsequently touches your eyes, nose, or mouth. That’s how it gets in to your body. So don’t do it.

Wash Your Hands!

Often! Whenever you have come in contact with surfaces that may have been contaminated by a sick person, wash your hands. This is the most effective way other than complete avoidance. Won’t work though if you’ve already inhaled a ‘cloud’…

Hold Your Breath

Here’s another tip. If you happen to be near someone who is sick and they cough or sneeze, immediately hold your breath! As you’re holding your breath you might also walk away from the plume of invisible particulate. Then breathe. If you can’t walk away then at least casually hold your breath for a time allowing the ‘cloud’ to dissipate.


Hand Sanitizer

There is a very effective product that Mrs.J and I use after we’ve been in contact with public places (grocery store, etc.). We keep it in the vehicle and apply it to our hands when returning to the vehicle.

Awhile ago I had researched what would be the best and most effective antimicrobial hand sanitizer that would kill the most germs. My research led me to purchase Gold Bond Ultimate Hand Sanitizer.

We’ve been using it for several years with apparent success.

Gold Bond Ultimate Sanitizer and Moisturizer (Pack of 6)

One for your vehicle, one for your purse, one for work, one for at home, etc..

Since we’re entering the season of sick, I thought I would post on this topic for awareness. Best thing is avoidance. Next best thing is washing your hands. Use a sanitizer for temporary assurance.

Remember that you likely will not get a cold or the flu if you are a hermit. On the other hand most of us are around other people, some more than others, and that’s when you’re at risk. Just be aware if someone else looks sick, and avoid them!

Related article: Remedies For A Dry Cough

Your own experiences??


  1. Ken
    Even the hermit needs to go to town once in a blue moon – some say you need a little exposure to germs to keep up your resistance – you know the “eat a little dirt to stay healthy” philosophy. Don’t get the 50% effective flue shots either – DW or I, never had flue that I can remember.
    But we prep for as many contingencies as possible so I ask, does the Gold Bond you mention, freeze if you leave it in your vehicle?

    1. @hermit, Yes it will freeze. So Mrs.J keeps a tube in her EDC during the winter…

  2. Good topic Ken….agree with u on all points…surfaces r notorious bacteria virus farms…shopping cart handles door handles sink faucets also tables at restaurants yuck..
    .i used to work at restaurants n that cloth they wipe the table with is gross, though there r exceptions…also paper money a germ hoarder…i work at a discount store n I clean as many surfaces as possible also was the only cashier to wear nitrite gloves now my other coworker does….the gloves are covered in dirt even before one shift ends…
    One funny story…i was swapping my nitrile gloves for a fresh pair and maybe it was how I inadvertently put them on but this one customer gave a frightened look like “i didn’t like my exam last time n ur not going to get me now” oops! Ps keep ur hands clean n moisturized to prevent chaffing n cracks where invaders can also get in….to all Health n Peace 😊

    1. Shepherdess,

      Hahaha! The snap of your gloves going on obviously triggered something for your co-worker!

      Your point about money is so true. Money has been who-knows-where, and even if it doesn’t have germs, it is filthy. In my past career as a CFO, there were times when one of my staff and I needed to double-count a large cash bank deposit. We’d end up in the ladies room afterward scrubbing our blackened fingers. You never knew what was on those bills. Yuck!

      1. So Cal Gal
        Not sure if it is happening in your area but clerks are wearing plastic gloves when handling merchandise, and cash to stop the spread of contaminants on their hands.

      2. One of my worse habits–holding bills in my mouth!!!
        I cashiered for years, taught public school, worked at daycares and have an unbelievable immune system.
        I’m never sick, have never had a cold or flu.
        I am so fortunate and blessed.

        1. JJ,
          Good for you for having such a strong immune system. But bills in your mouth – yikes!

    2. Shepherdess,
      I to used to work in a restaurant, I would see other waitresses and bus help grab the glasses with their fingers inside several glasses (I always thought that was so nasty) then they would handle food with out washing their hands.
      Guess that is why I don’t care to eat out much, to many years working in food service.

      1. Rancher’s Wife, yep…
        Also perhaps is look at the restrooms, here’s a tip: if the restrooms appear foul,
        do not eat there…nuff said

        1. Shepherdees
          You are so correct, I worked at one place the dining room was nice and clean, but the bathrooms and the kitchen were so gross, I only stayed there a week, was just more then I could handle.

  3. As some one working at a hospital we are exposed to Everything running around the public.

    My wife and I are daily users of Emergency-C and if we feel a little sick we have it twice daily. With 2 90+year olds it’s important not to bring bugs home. We use it with the Goldens as soon as we notice them sniffling and knock on wood it’s been well over a year since we had an hospital visit for colds/flu.

    Also as our Co-Workers like to come in sick a desk HEPA Filter unit keeps that particulate cloud away with it’s fan action as well as reduces the amount around the desk.

    Hope this helps someone.

    1. NH Michael,

      We have this with my in-laws. They are in their 80’s and both cancer survivors. They both have very damaged immune systems and catch everything that goes around. My MIL has had so many bronchial problems that every little bug turns into serious bronchitis or pneumonia. What would be a cold for a week for the rest of us turns into a weeks-long serious illness for one of them, who then will infect the other. They get flu shots, but still get really sick multiple times every year.

      I’ve tried to work with them on supplements, or to work with their doctors to get them into regimens that might help rebuild their immunities, but MIL hates taking anything and is a difficult patient at best.

  4. CLean your telephone with alcohol wipes, or an ammonia based glass cleaner, i used to work with a guy who did it everytime some else used his phone, thought he was a little bit nutty until he explained it to me, makes perfect sense!

  5. Perhaps if your workspace allows for it, a small diffuser with some anti-bug essential oils. Achoo!

  6. It’s impossible to avoid the germs when one family member works where they deal with the public all day. DS brings home all the latest flu, cold and other germs. Last year she was the only one to get sick. DH and I used EO’s throughout the sicknesses that she had, so we did not get anything.

  7. I drove mass transit for a few years and I remember clearly being ‘sickish’ for almost the entire year. Sitting there being exposed to everything and the sickist ones always seemed to sit in the seats closest to the driver.

  8. This is a constant battle for me. I visit clients including schools, doctor’s offices, offices filled with cubicles of people, often in buildings requiring me to take an elevator – and I shake hands a lot. So, I am in a germ-fest a lot of days.

    I always have a small hand sanitizer in my purse. I wash my hands a lot. I refuse to get a flu shot. I do my best to keep away from people who are visibly sick. I don’t have kids, so I don’t have to worry about all the classroom bugs kids seem to bring home.

    I’m not a germ-o-phobe (I sure sound like one though, don’t I?), but elevator buttons are a big one with me. I suffer from seasonal allergies and I can end up rubbing my eyes frequently without thinking about it. This is a sure-fire way to get sick after I’ve pressed elevator buttons and opened office doors. So, I try to remember not to randomly rub my eyes, and I use a knuckle on my left hand to press elevator buttons instead of a finger on my right hand (left knuckles have less of a chance of being near my face). I don’t get sick too often, but every now and then I still catch something that is going around.

    1. So Cal Gal,
      I am the same way with elevator buttons. I always use my left hand knuckle. I thought I was the only one.
      Also, public restroom door handles. I never touch these with my bare hands–always with the towel that I dried my hands on.
      I’ve read that a computer keyboard and phone has more germs than a toilet seat. I always wiped mine off periodically to keep the germs away.

  9. Ken,
    The timing of this post is impeccable. I’m currently sitting in urgent care, not for myself though, I had to drive my sister in law because she caught something from one of the grandkids who has a sinus infection. I’m starting to get a little tingle in my throat though. One thing I read about awhile back was gargling some high proof alcohol when you start to get “the tingle” in your throat. It’s supposed to kill the virus or whatever before it can materialize into a sickness. I’ve been doing it now a little over a year with good results. I’m hoping it’ll work good on this occasion too because the grandkids come up to visit every weekend.

    I’ve been using mouthwash with 21% alcohol content recently because it’s cheaper but today I’m going to use the good stuff just as an added precaution since I’m near people who are definitely sick.

  10. What gives me the heebie-jeebies is when I get onto an airplane with someone wearing a surgical mask. My skin starts to crawl and sweat beads up on me. Its like you can see the infestation crawling all over the person who is wearing the mask. Totally gross!

    If I pass by that person in public or any sick individual coughing and sneezing I always hold my breath and walk quickly away.

    1. I work in a lab processing heavy metals so I am head to toe PPE breathing ULPA filtered air. I get my flu shots depending on how bad the outbreaks in my area are. If I have to go to a public place (shopping, post office, etc.), I drink Airborne immunity booster which was developed by an elementary school teacher for dealing with little kids all day.

    2. I’ve been known to wear a mask on lanes and in airports. What may be happening is they are trying to not catch what others are spreading. You might want to consider wearing your own mask.

    3. White Cracker
      They may be wearing a mask on the plane since they have little or no immune system due to cancer treatment. I have come across a few while grocery shopping, I smile at them putting them at ease.

      Remember they are doing what it takes to stay healthy while others have bad health habits.
      Saw it every day when I worked in the grade school yard duty and cafeteria assistant. Parents who refused to stay home with their ill children, or could not, sent them to school anyway. Which infected the majority of kids & working staff until their immune systems could not fight off the infection(s). Oh, it was always the same kids that brought it into the school, poor eating and health habits.

  11. Without going to off my nut about the absolutely uncouth, rude, inconsiderate, slim ball POS’s that INSIST on going to work and infecting others with their yucko; I will admit I have my special ways of “hinting” to others to get to the friggen doctor and staying home. Such as printing out a list of Ear-Nose-Throat Doctors in the area and Duct Tapping it on their keyboard, or walking by their desk and ‘fake’ hacking a lung out.
    What pizzes me off the most are those that hack and sneeze without even thinking of covering their mouth or nose and just spew at will, totally discussing.
    Admittedly I’m one of the fortunately ones that very seldom get a cold, flu, or most any other “stuff” that’s floats in the air, probably because I’m fairly much a loner and stay away from people as much as possible. I guess I’m just to mean for most germs and flu viruses, that or the 80% alcohol blood content is detrimental to germ growth? BUT, when I do get sick…. Watch out; I mean I really get sick as a dog on road-kill skunk diet, BUT I do NOT go around others and just hibernate till it’s totally gone. Something to be said for a well-stocked Deep Pantry and a HUGE pile of firewood, heck even Blue is nice to me when I’m sick though.

    1. NRP,
      Yep… we have a couple of people at the office who are the typhoid-Mary’s of the group. Coughing and sneezing all over the place. Using a phone on someone else’s desk when they are sick, you know, thoughtless stuff that will get everyone else sick, too.

      We keep Lysol and rubbing alcohol here to help with that, but it’s a bummer when someone comes in and doesn’t have full-blown symptoms yet, and spreads it around before we all realize they need to be at home.

      1. So Cal Gal

        I will admit you said it lot more politely than I did… :-)

        What also is shocking to me is the general lack of Hygiene of the public, take a walk around Wally World some day and just look at the condition of some…

        1. If you go anywhere in public you take a chance of getting infected with everything from a cold to BongoBongo. First Americans are not the cleanest people in the world but the animals that are being let into our country are bad news. We have become the dumping ground for the world to unload their sick, low I.Q. lowest level people. Most don’t know what a toilet is and have never seen clean running water. Don’t touch a shopping cart without gloves as the CDC found 80% test positive for human waste. As for public restrooms I’ll take my chances with the deer,bears and small fury critters in the woods.

        2. I had read something on the grocery cart germ thing a while back, and I always grab multiple wipes at the door for the cart, or basket and my hands. I would say about half of people doing the same as me, other half walking by looking at me like I’m weird for wiping down.

          I’m also leery of restroom doors. I don’t want to wash my hands then have to open a door handle with my clean hands. I usually use the paper towel I am holding to open the handle, then toss the towel. But, with more places going to blow dryers for hands I don’t always have that option.

        3. So Cal Gal
          It was grocery cart that I picked up the final & last bug we brought home. After that the Lysol wipes went every where with us.
          Elevators use my knuckle to touch the up and down buttons, door handles out of the bathroom I use the paper towel or sleeve of my jacket, or use my pinky finger to pull the door open. When we get home I wash them real well with soap & water.

        4. NRP
          If you ever hear a women in Nor Cal tell someone under her breathe that they should have stayed home and not sharing their cuddies. Yes, that is me. lol

  12. Welcome to my ex-world! Imagine being the triage nurse in a busy ER or outpatient clinic. We would have big signs saying please do not cough on your nurse. People would actually ask how we did what we did and not get sick. I’d tell them it was because of the special vaccine they gave us and then go oops, that was supposed to be a secret. Now we’ll have to kill you.

    As a young army medic a number of us were asked to participate in an experimental vaccine being developed at Walter Reed. It was supposed to protect us against adeno viruses type 4 and 7 which the army figured was costing them many millions annually in lost productivity (in 1960s dollars). Half of us got a placebo. I guess I was one who got the real deal. I didn’t get a cold for the next 19 years.

    I’m a believer in vaccines and most (not all) of the nurses and docs I worked with were also. I’ve heard many people who claim to have gotten sick form the their vaccine. for most of them it was a coincidental infection. There is always something going around and if they get a cold after the flu shot they will call it the flu.

    The good news is that we don’t get sick from every germ we are exposed to and we do get a chance to develop antibodies that help protect us from subsequent infections. The bad news is the greater the concentration of germs the more likely something will “catch”. Our hospital implemented a policy of masking patients in the waiting room who we coughing. One patient refused and was told he would not be seen. He said he wasn’t leaving until he was. He was convinced to leave by the officer who was called.

    the Spanish flu was going around towards the end of WW 1. Troops were sick with it and coming home on ships. That was one hell of a recipe for contagion. the illness went world wide and nobody knows how many were truly killed from it but the estimates were in the many millions. At it’s height, 250,000 people a day were dying.

    Bacterial warfare has been around for a very long time. Honey contaminated with botulism was left behind by a retreating army sometime BC. two day later the retreating army turned around and wiped out the now infected army that had been following them. Smallpox contaminated blankets were given to native americans to contain a potentially hostile tribe in our nations early history. remember the Hong Kong flu that was supposed to be so bad? It was supposed to go around in the late 60s or early 70s and be very bad. Our nation pushed very hard to vaccinate the population. The rest of the world went ho hum. Nothing bad happened. I speculate that something bad could have happened but the virus was not “released”. Personally if the government is ever pushing for a vaccine, I plan on getting it. Think of the difference in casualties that would be taken if we were at war with a hostile nation and their populace was to sick to fight.

    Lastly the swine flu started in Mexico and went world wide after college students returning form spring break flew on airliners. I took my wife on vacation last winter and she coughed for 3 weeks straight on 4 different Hawaiian islands. I think it was Clancy that did a book where terrorists released a virus in an airport terminal. It has happened in the past and it could happen again. If it looks like something bad is going around stay home and keep your door closed to everybody. Wear a N-95 rated mask if you must go out and pray

  13. I work in a medical office and luckily we have an understanding that if you’re sick, you don’t come to work! We did have one person show up coughing and looking puny. I checked on her, asked her if she was sick, she said “I don’t think so”. I checked her temperature = 101 degrees. I sent her home immediately! Then wiped down her desk, keyboard, phone, all the door knobs, breakroom refrigerator, bathroom faucets and handles… I absolutely hate it when someone comes to work sick. Not only to protect co-workers, but we have lots of elderly patients who might not survive the flu…

    1. Very true! Most people don’t think that they are exposing people to something that could kill them. The average flu outbreak typically kills about 30,000 people.

      What is also sad is that some people in essential services go in because other people are depending on them. Imagine calling 911 and getting a recording. “We’re sorry but all dispatchers are home sick, Please call back in about a week if you are still alive. Good luck!”

  14. I believe most people go to work sick to save up for the really serious medical
    emergency or because they need the money and work for the small companies
    in America who employ the most people but which are exempt from federal
    workplace rules. Many small companies simply don’t have sick leave. You
    don’t work you don’t get paid. A catch 22, I know.

    According to Dr. Michael Osterhom. founder and head of CIDRAP (Center for
    Disease Research and Policy) at the University of Minnesota (cidrap.umn.edu),
    he worries about two things which could have devastating effects on the whole
    world: pandemic influenza and antibiotic resistance.

    I can’t help wondering if antimicrobial resistance isn’t going in the direction of
    antibiotic resistance. I’d suggest soap and water, or wet wipes till you get
    home to where you can wash your hands.

    The above mentioned site is the best place to go for the latest, best information
    on any current or new diseases. It has no peer. One thing that I’ve noticed with MERS,
    SARS, Zika, Ebola and a host of other zoonotic diseases. The confusion in the
    press (often) and survival sites (mostly) is the lack of understanding between
    “regional epidemics” and a pandemic. A regional epidemic can become a pandemic,
    of course, but too many writers hyperventilate over the subject unnecessarily to a
    great disservice to their readers.

    Dr. Osterholm is at the front lines and when he worries out loud about it, and it will
    be on the above site for anybody, then I’ll worry about it. In the meantime I’m
    worrying about the influenza pandemic and getting ready using the site “Get
    Pandemic Ready” which Cidrap says nice things about and is easy to read and
    thorough. 72 hours of supplies? No. A minimum of 3 months because a pandemic
    influenza will come in 3 month waves.

    I just don’t know if using a hand sanitizer is the best idea. There may be some merit
    to being on good terms with some germs. IMHO.

    I personally have serious concerns about hand sanitizers in the long run.

    1. I concur, although many of them are just alcohol based because it does a rather good job of killing a lot of the stuff out there, We develop antibodies from being exposed and babies get them form Mom’s breast milk. Temptation for many to come in sick so they can save their paid time off for a vacation is certainly a deciding factor. Another factor is when the company is going to downsize it is likely they will keep more of the most productive workers and fire those who call in sick frequently.

    2. I have to say that I’ve been on both sides of this problem. Many people don’t get sick time, many millions are just barely treading water financially and it’s miss work and don’t eat. Some places have an unwritten policy of punishment for missing work while others have a very well written progressive punishment policy.
      When I worked at a big box store and had to carry a store phone the first thing that I did was slather some of the sanitation hand cleaner on it and let it sit for a few minutes. If it was handed off with a cover on it so much the better. Discard the cover and then clean the phone and then our hands.

  15. During 2013-2014, dh was in the ICU-IMCU at one of the local hospitals. During his second round in the ICU for an emergency surgery, patients started pouring into the hospital from all over the north state. They had to move him from ICU to IMCU as they required the specialty care of the ICU on these fresh incoming patients. Tests were being runs as they had NO idea what was causing these people to be ill. It attacked them quickly and each one had different symptoms, after 3 days and one death that I was aware of in the hospital. It was determined to be H1N1 flu brought home by college kids to a small rural community. From there it spread like wild fire, to other out lying areas. The hospitals from Southern CA to WA were stacked and packed, vacation time was cancelled for medical staff. (Sister worked at the hospital, so I was kept in the loop)
    Dh never contracted it due to all the meds he was on & I did not either due to hospital protocol on cleanliness. Staff were gowned down with masks (fresh attire) for each room they entered and promptly disposed of upon exiting. IT was serious!

    This taught me to keep those same practices when out shopping or visiting with anyone. We carry Lysol wipes, house hold strength. These I keep in a plastic sandwich bag upon entering a grocery store wipe down the parts of the shopping cart I will be touching. After shopping and bagging of groceries is completed and the bags are stored into the vehicle, I clean my hands again. It only takes one time being a lay person seeing what these modified germs can do to the human body in a short time. Hence I will do my best to kill them off before they can infect myself or family. Not a germaphobe, but health conscious person who has seen the general public understanding of cleanliness, healthy habits is gone.

    1. AC,
      From everything I’ve read, even those hospitals that do a good job with containment would be quickly overwhelmed in an epidemic. I’ve also read more than one article over the years that basically says if there is an serious outbreak of anything, going to the hospital should be an absolute last resort. And that doesn’t even count the drug-resistant infections popping up.

      It’s amazing to me how many people are oblivious, though.

  16. I try to wash my hands often, especially when I get home from shopping. I just feel like I need to wash them. A lot of people don’t wash their hands much, even after going to the bathroom. I used to work with another highliner that was like that, and he started trying to bum a dip of Copenhagen Snuff from me on a regular basis instead of buying his own. I didn’t want his hands in my snuff can, so I made sure that he was watching when I spit my chew back into my can a couple of times. He never did bum another chew off of me after that.
    I agree that being out and meeting the public can result in picking up some kind of bug. That’s why I have my treadle sewing machines at home away from the public! And I use the “I’m not feeling well” excuse as much as I can to keep from having to go to the shop and work. But, I think my wife has me figured out. She brings work home for me.

    CD in Oklahoma

    1. Me too! After a bags are set down I go to the sink. Like you I feel like I have to.

    2. CD in Oklahoma
      Us too.

      Especially if we go out, anywhere. When we come in, first thing is to wash our hands.

      1. Me too. First thing I do when I come home is to wash the germs off.
        I carry wet wipes for my grandkids plus hand sanitizer when we go out. They touch everything then put their hands in their mouths..

        1. we also carry Rubbing Alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide bottles in car door pocket. If we touch/come across something we “wonder” about, our hands get doused before we drive off. (do this outside of vehicle and pour over hands on the ground.. Some upholstery finishes/leather seems to get marks from this)

        2. Oh, and if you needs must use a public washroom, use a Kleenex/sleeve to open the door. Paper towel to turn on tap, etc. Paper towel to open door on way out, etc. etc.

    3. I had a nurse teach me how to wash my hands effectively. Each finger was done separately. Too often, including me before my lesson, people just lather up and rotate their hands.
      Also, some people still sneeze or cough into their hands. They don’t know to use the inside crook of the elbow.
      When sanitizing isn’t a a available, pull your sleeve down over your hand and press the elevator button, or open a door etc., or keep a tissue in your pocket.
      As a preparedness item I have been buying the two ounce bottles of vodka. It works as an antiseptic and has an indefinite shelf life. NRP, do you think you could save the vodka? (Lol)
      Stay frosty. (Calm and cool)

  17. Parents send their kids to school sick all of the time.
    They want the school to deal with their problem.
    The school will just send the sick child back to class when the lazy parent won’t come and get him.
    I have even called parents about their sick kid.
    They have said “It is the school’s problem now, because I’m at work”

  18. I keep wipes in both vehicles. Every time we get back in after shopping we wipe our hands off. Mr. gets the flu shot. The one year I got it they did not have the strains in it.
    Yes, I remember the work days. I had alcohol in my desk and kept my phone, pens and whatever wiped off. Also kept Air Borne and a can off chicken broth! Just in case I could feel a cold coming on. Oh the eye rollers. Well, I rarely got sick like some of the others.

  19. As a courtesy, when they’re not feeling well, the Chinese use a facial mask/cover to cover their nose and mouth in order to help prevent contagious infection of others. Perhaps we could possibly benefit by learning how to keep our immune system strong also. Anyone remember the garlic syrup recipe?

    1. I make elderberry syrup. I used it last year when I was feeling bad, and I believe it worked great. I want to make some elderberry tincture, so this article is a great reminder for me to get busy and make some.

  20. I’m sure Gene’s immune system is compromised as he recovers from surgery.
    He takes elderberry tablets, vitamin A, and zinc daily with all the other herbs/vitamins.
    I also have 3 bottles of elderberry syrup in the freezer just in case.
    He works around dumb dumbs. It’s just impossible to not breathe their air in a truck heading to lunch or around the tiny office.

    Oh, I just organized my cases of canned goods by year. I found a few from 2009/2010/2011 slipped in with other years…hmmm.
    Stay healthy by using antibacterial soap(I make mine with water, vitamin E, rosemary)all day.

    1. JJ,
      Would love you recipe for your soap. Please and thank you.

  21. I run a small home daycare and it irritates me to no end when parents bring their kids sick ( I have one who does it all the time even though in the contract / rules I asked that they don’t) I try to keep everything disinfected, I go threw a lot of Lysol and bleach. I also try to keep EO’s going in the defusser. I try real hard to teach them to cough in their elbows. I can defiantly tell the kids who are taught to cover their coughs at home and the ones who are not.
    I wash my hands so much during the day, sometimes I think that is all do.
    I also wipe down my cart before shopping not just the handle but the whole top portion, I use to just do the handle but one day in the store the people in front of me had a little girl about 5 or 6 who was running her tongue all over the basket ( I still get half sick to my stomach when i think of it so gross).Also on the way out I grab on of the wipes and wipe my hands then use hand sanitizer when I get to the truck.
    At DH’s work they keep Vit C in the break room and encourage everyone to take , plus he takes it at home and is never sick.

  22. Sorry ya’ll, but here goes. Hope you’ve had dinner.

    Grossed out at the grocery store tonight. The “bagger” was obviously sick. Wiping their nose with the back of their hands (good try)… yuck! As soon as I saw the first sign of a sniffle, I asked them (ever so politely) to stop bagging my groceries. They told me they weren’t sick, just allergies. Yea right. They were told again as politely as possible that they just wiped snot on their hands and I didn’t want it on my groceries.

    The manager came over to ask me if everything was okay. They were told NO.

    Just a reminder of how many “cooties” come home on our groceries. Sorry ya’ll, Beach’n

    1. Grocery stores are a primary spot for picking up sickness. Between the grocery cart handles, the food itself that so many people pick up and put down, and the checkout… it’s a wonder we’re not all sick!

      The worst is when your checkout person is obviously sick. Unbelievable!

    2. Beach’n,

      That’s just wrong! And gross!

      I mean c’mon, this is food people are going to take home to eat being handled that way. Sadly, it’s like it ever even occurred to the people working there that someone would have an issue with their groceries being handled that way. I can’t imagine what goes on that the public never sees. Ughhhh!

      1. So Cal Gal & Beach’n
        After dh read Beach’n post about the little girl. He told me last time he was able to go into the store with me a child was doing the same thing licking the rails on the cart. He said to the child “are you sharing your germs with every body?”…the mother gave dh a strange look..like what business is it of yours. Nasty is hardly a way to describe how I felt after he told me. I will use more wipes next time I go shopping!!! YUCK

        1. Antique Collector and your hubby,
          Can you believe people let their children lick the yucky store cart handle?! That child got vaccinated at the grocery store! Great way to build up immunities, I guess…

        2. I can vouch that they also let nasty snot nosed, nasty diaper kids ride in the cart. I also saw people take towels/blankets to put in the bottom of carts for the kid to sit or sleep on. Then dump on a shelf before leaving. Also people will let the kid take things from a shelf, let them play (chew) on it.

    3. I don’t buy produce at grocery stores if I can avoid it, after watching one woman (customer, not store employee), sniffling and wiping her nose, handle each and every head of lettuce looking for the one she wanted. Then she moved on to the peppers. No thank you!

      1. Oh ewww! I hadn’t thought of that one and I worked at a big box store.

      2. Lauren,
        If I do buy produce, it is washed before going into my refrigerator!

  23. I have become very nervous about eating at restaurants where the cooks are not of our cleanliness culture. I had ordered a salad (a hands on meal prep). On the way home we had to make an emergency stop because my gut was set to explode. A while later I spoke to the restaurant manager but he assured me that food poisoning took at lot longer than an hour or so to show symptoms. I told him that that was not the case with feces and that his cooks should either wash their hands or wear gloves. I have never been back.

    1. NPR: maybe you could do a report on cultures and their bathroom procedures. What if people have grown up not using toilet paper?

      1. Skeezin

        Are you sure you really want to know?

        I’ve neen on every continent except Antarctica, It’s amazing humans are still around

  24. People and poor personal hygiene bug me. Nice clean office to work in and they contaminate it for their co-workers, dumb. I do believe in “eating a little dirt” to help your immune system, working underground it is almost a given. All in all though, miners are a pretty health lot. I work in the dredging and bio-solids industry now, definitely not following the “eat a bit of dirt” routine here! In fact I went and got hepatitis A & B shots right away. I believe in immunizations and flu shots. But I also use homeopathic “Ocillo” to fight off the first signs of flu. Been pretty healthy for the most part. DW is a breast cancer survivor and absolutely disinfects everything from grocery carts to door handles. She’said even got this Old Miner doing it. Better safe than sorry I guess.

  25. Our in the middle of no where my germs mostly come from church. Since I had cancer twice and all the icky stuff that goes with it, my immunizes are real low. Our church is quite small, never more than 30 and people are always coming sick and bringing sick kids, as if you couldn’t catch something from a kid. They think they are getting extra brownie points from God if they come when they are sick. Now when someone come that is sick, my husband and I get up and leave. They think we are wooses – that is until they wind up in the hospital with the flu!
    When we worked my husband was boss and he would send sick employees home.

  26. I noticed no mention of vaccines. I don’t believe in taking them but am getting a lot of trouble for not by health provider.

    1. I don’t take most ( 99%) of vaccines. I don’t argue about it I just give a polite no thanks or not today or even I’ll think about it. If there is a continued push I repeat again a little more firmly.

      1. aka
        touch wood this does not jinx me…but….I don’t either. However, the only times I have been fairly sick with the flu, was due (I believe) to being in prolonged close proximity to someone who HAD the flu shot and who was sneezing/snuffling/drippy nose. Both times I believe her “viral shedding” is what made me sick…

      2. when I was getting out of the hospital with my last cancer they wouldn’t let me leave until I had a flu shot and pneumonia shot.

        1. “Old Lady” — Ma’am,… That’s what 911 is for. And a large relative with a power of attorney in hand. How dare they coerce you in such a dangerous way. What a travesty.

  27. Of course you are getting into trouble . they want all the money they can get and they get a kickback on dispensing them
    The last time i took the flu shot I got the flu. haven’t taken it since the last round of the swine flu.. asked if I wanted the flu shot and told them i already had natural immuntiy since i already had the flu.. ( they did not ask when, and it was not necessary to say! )
    I use herbals, to minimize virus’ just go to the herbal holistic and begin looking up herbals you have read /heard about. see what actions it has, make notes….I check out things i find on sale to see if it is somethin i might want to begin using…
    easiest way is to put in search line… herbs for antiviral… lots of info can come up..
    ..some things like garlic, i get at grocery or from yard.. others i order and make tinctures..( they keep the longest, but take a while to make) Garlic vinegars when processed properly are highly antibacerial from a substance called allicin.
    There are lots of things to boost immune systems.. herbal suppliers often make some remedys up and will sell those by the 4 ounce. considering doses are 2.5 – 5 cc.. that is several doses.

  28. Greetings to all from a current healthcare worker working in locked environment for the mentally ill. I just finished my pm shift and I saw this post before I took off for work tonight.

    The mentally ill are notorious for poor grooming habits. and the habits of my coworkers are questionable at times. We do not have unlimited amounts of sick time so I have a multi pronged approach to staying ( relatively ) healthy while working with a population that is low IQ, low impulse control and have anger management issues. ( could describe a number of work places. not just mine.) so here goes:

    #1: Take care of yourself first. Eat right, exercise and get plenty of rest in order to maintain your own resistence to the bacteria, viruses and other micro-organisms out there. wash your hands and use lotion in order to maintain your skin integrity. Use tissues to blow your nose and use throat lozenges to keep your throat moist and the mucus flowing. Mucus is also a defense mechanism. Last step is to stay hydrated. I do not use many dietary supplements or energy drinks. I find better results in a sit-down meal with the four food groups serves me better. I do not eat salads or sandwiches from a dirty kitchen, salad bar with unkempt people reaching in with bare unwashed hands. Most often, I eat salads fixed and washed at home.

    #2: Cleaning the environment: If the water source is questionable, I bring my own bottled water in to work. I also drink coffee or tea at work using boiled water. Cups are new disposable or I bring my own clean cup from home that gets washed by me between servings with soap and clean water.

    Work surfaces are wiped down using alcohol pads on phones and keyboards. peroxide wipes are used on counters each shift. Messes are cleaned up as quickly as possible using gloves. I bring in my own supply of tissue and throat lozenges.

    #3: Cleaning up after work: If I was exposed to something like MRSA, VRE or just a really stinky and gross night at work (cleaning up feces, vomit,) I have a plastic pan in the garage that has a bottle of bleach solution and I will dip the soles of my boots in before I remove them outside my door to the living area. there I will take the time to examine for gross contaminant and scrub off and undress my outer contaminated layer prior to going inside the house. There is a bin in which to place these items and the smell of bleach solution in the garage is an indicator to not mess with the dirty laundry without gloves on. My wife is also a nurse so we set up the decontamination zone together.

    #4: For the safety of the community: If I had a messy night cleaning up all kinds of contaminated what-ever, I will drive straight home in order to clean up. You will not see me go to a bar and order a pitcher of margaritas. Nor will I stop at the grocery store on the way home and get MERSA or VRE all over the produce aisle. Home is where I have the washer, drier and lots of bleach, laundry detergent, soap in many forms and clean food that I will not touch until after I have cleaned up. This I do in order to protect the members of the community I live and work in.

    I also suffer from seasonal allergies so I look and sound sick for 3 months each spring. I cannot call off for 3 months at a time. Many around me know I am also not infectious during the Spring months.

    1. CaliRefugee,
      I like your steps to prevent contamination from entering your house. Don’t the workers at where you work have a ‘locker room’ of sorts?? Just thinking of changing out before you leave, that way your car is not contaminated, bringing the work clothes home in a bag in the trunk. My DW suffers from allergies, so I try and dump my really dirty farm clothes outside before I come in. I installed an ‘electrostatic air cleaner’ in our home heating system, it filters out a lot of dust, pollen, and I suspect some viruses. My DW and I can breathe a lot better since it was installed, and we have had fewer colds, etc. The units cost from $500 up, and if you are mechanically inclined, you can put one in the ducting yourself. Maybe get a contractor to do the whole thing for under $500 if you have the unit bought. just a thought.
      Thanks for what you do daily, taking care of those that can’t take care of themselves, you are truly blessed for doing so.

      1. Minerjim

        I would almost agree with the “locker rom” idea, but and this is a HUGE BUT, have you seen the insides of the typical “locker room” even in a Hospital there is NO WAY you would even get me to even walk into one of those, all alone think that they are sanitary, and clean. Remembering all of the others that would use them to change into their “clean” clothing from the Nasty’s, hence after the first uses the facility, it’s (locker room) already contaminated, than have 5 – 10 – 15 people do the same???? I don’t believe that would be a good idea.
        I’ll take my chances at home/garage. with a spray bottle if needed deluging the Truck.

        Just my 2 ¢ worth

        1. NRP,
          I see your point, especially if the locker rooms are not kept clean. Just thinking back to my younger days when I worked in a nuclear manufacturing facility, darn, we changed clothes all the time and were very conscious about cleaning things up. Then again, we could ‘measure’ our contamination, you can’t do that with biologicals.
          Just trying to think of a way they could keep from contaminating the car, maybe put down a sheet of plastic to sit on and drive home, and discard that? I don’t think my truck could stand a ‘hosing down’ too often, it would probably fall apart! Maybe CaliRefugee should press the facility he works at for a place to ‘decon’ from the work environment before going home, it could be pressed as a ‘personal safety’ issue stand point. ( use the Gov’t laws to your own advantage!). I think your ‘2 cents worth’ is probably worth more now NRP, maybe a dime? Ha! Ha!

  29. To minerjim and NRP:

    A clean locker room is a subject of fantasy fiction in the book aisles at Powell’s Books in Portland. To minimize decontamination of my automobile, I have both driver and passenger side covered with an inexpensive terrycloth beach towel which can be untied or untucked and dropped in the washing machine when soiled. Non-absorbant floor mats complete the decor process for the truck as sanitary wipes can be used on steering wheel and dash. ( Do not forget to wipe the door handles, grab handles either.).

    I have been in and out of health care for most of my adult life having also worked in food service as well as law enforcement so that is why I make the cynical observation about the cleanliness of at-work locker rooms. ( sorry.) Working any other shift outside bankers hours on Mon thru Friday means there is no housekeeper or janitor to clean up messes. (So, to quote the preacher in Blazing Saddles: “you are on your own Son”)

    Many thanks and God Bless those who do work in housekeeping and janitorial. Their job is truly thankless.

    1. CaliRefugee,

      Sounds like you have the work to home thing covered. good to know about. I have always thought that ‘decontamination’ of anything was more of reducing crap as much as possible than eliminating it completely. I agree with you on praise for janitors (is this PC?) that have to try and keep locker rooms clean. nasty job and as you say thankless.
      Ken, maybe we need an article on decontaminating stuff under different conditions??

  30. Hi all,
    One of the worst things I witnessed was a woman in a chain drug store.
    She was obviously sick. She was rubbing mucus on her fingertips and purposely running her fingers across all the boxes of the OC cold and flu medication. I watched her for about 30 seconds to make sure of what I was thinking was actually going on. Yep,she stopped to reload her fingertips and kept on going.
    Went and grabbed the manager. He freaked out on this “woman” who in reality was a guy dressed as a woman.
    It got a little crazy!
    To his credit the manager had an employee (with gloves) remove the first box on each row that “she” touched.
    I wondered if the product went back up on the shelf the next day.
    There are creepy and sinister people roaming out in public.
    I always grab the second row products whenever possible.
    Since my group got sick from people visiting us we have become hyper vigilant when we are at the stores.
    I have seen kids licking the carts as well.
    The worst are the parents whose kids have snot running down their faces and just leave it there.
    We either shop very early or very late these days to avoid the clueless /lazy mud daubers and their dirty spawn spreading contagions.
    Harsh but true…

    1. Bill Jenkins Horse
      Gross. Worse than gross. Really, it should be criminal. But then, one would have to prove “intent”. Most likely the person would come up with some story.

    2. What gets me are the idiots who get angry when you wipe a kid’s nose and he screams and thrashes. They act as if wiping the kid’s nose is child abuse.

  31. On the flip side, I have read that trying to make sure that everything is sterile all of the time has a counterproductive effect on our immune system, causing it to become weaker. Sterility has it’s place of course. Hospitals, OR, etc. Canning/processing food as well. Perhaps the idea might be to learn how to prevent ourselves from exposure, and to prevent ourselves from exposing others if we are not well. Within reason of course. I also suppose the degree of prevention would be determined by the threat. One would go to greater lengths, in other words, in order to reduce ones exposure to a more virulent pathogen.

    1. There is some truth to this.

      One woman in our neighborhood is literally a clean-freak. Everything in the kitchen is wiped down after every use with clorox, she never allows dust to settle, she even sanitizes the paper towels she uses before she wipes up a spill. Hand sanitizer after she touches another person, she stands back if she has to talk to someone, she spends most of her life inside from fear of contamination, and wonders why her children are always sick. “But I’m so careful!”

      Her children have never had a chance to develop natural immunity and they catch EVERYTHING.

      1. someone needs to tell the lady.
        .1 the paper towels are sterile, until She opens them.
        2.hand sanitizer CAN cause alcohol poisoning in children, if they keep hands in mouth.
        .3. she should change to a vinegar solution for cleaning some surfaces, will be easier on her clothing, and just as effective..
        4. borax, laundry soda and peroxide cleaners ( basic ingredients in home made laundry powder) all sanitize. as do many essential oils.
        5 Should consider ,…use essential oil based in diffuser to help childrens problems caused by low immunity and/or too many chemical scents from cleaners.

        1. 1) She knows. Doesn’t make a difference.
          2) I don’t think I ever pointed that one out to her…
          3) I once suggested other cleaners. No go. Clorox or nothing.
          4) That’s one I never thought of–that her kids might be sensitive to the cleaners she uses. Because they are ALWAYS sick.

        2. Lauren, Sometimes we just have to face facts…. there are just SOME people that we can’t help.. Don’t stress over it too much.. might be best to just stay away. Vitamin D3 might help the immunity, Most of this nation is horribly deficient…
          But, just so she doesn’t get too comfortable… Be sure to tell her there are some germs that will grow in pure bleach.., no kiddin’, serious as a heart attack….. Serratia marcescens…(pink slime bacteria). ( DH got it in hospital, a highly resistant) We were both on antibiotics and herbals for 3 weeks… he got rid of it and I caught it from taking care of him…even tho we tried to be very careful..

        3. Just Sayin’, I don’t stress over it. I see her once in a while–usually she doesn’t even answer her door. Sometimes cleanliness can be taken to the level of a disease in itself.

  32. To Lauren and CR:

    You are absolutely right. If I were a clean freak and spent all my time cleaning up messes, I would never be able to do other aspects of my job. Add to that I have multiple cats and dog at home. I spend enough time at work where I get exposed to all kinds of stuff every day.

    The clean freaks do not last long at jobs within hospitals or nursing homes. Along those lines, I cannot get too upset at those people who have less-than-stellar grooming habits in public places. I have been guilty of going to the drug store while sick to purchase my supplies before crawling into bed to sleep it off. I try to minimize my contact time.

    The practices I mentioned were what I do to minimize the spread of M.O’s ( Micro-Organisms ) outside my place of work so I do not pass on the: “gift that keeps on giving.” ( sartorial term to describe Venereal Disease or other infections.). I hope we all take time to smell the roses outside and pet our dogs and kiss our spouses.

  33. One thing no one mentioned was food samples in big box stores ( Costco, Sam’s..) Watched a interview a few years ago and the guest was the head of the CDC. He went through all the normal stuff and than dropped a bomb about food samples. He said the number of cases of food born poisoning and contamination was insane. In fact he wanted to get the practice of food samples in retail outlets outlawed. He also said no one in his family were allowed to touch samples in any store. I started watching when we made a Costco run and that curried me from samples.

    1. Southernman
      well….years and years ago, I did used to take the odd food sample at Costco.

      That is, until I realised there are quite a number of little birds flying around (in most Costco’s), and golly gee…The droppings may well land in the samples.

    2. Southernman and Anon,

      I stay away from the sample tables, they are crowded with people scarfing down freebies and blocking the aisles. I’ve watched people let their kids grab samples, often taking more than one of whatever it is, then being told to “put it back” and dropping the extras back for the next person to then pick up and eat. Ick.

      And even though the person setting out the food has gloves on, they are trying to cook stuff in an electric skillet or toaster over, who knows if it’;s been cooked right, or how long something has been sitting out. No thanks!

  34. Sartorical not sartorial – remind me how I love my Spellcheck feature…

  35. Good points on both sides.

    Your largest organ is your skin. Aside from keeping your innards from falling out its two main functions are temperature regulation and keeping the bad bugs out. You are going to get various infectious pathogens on your skin on a daily basis. Unless you live in a bubble you can’t avoid them. As I said earlier in this thread the more of the bad stuff you are exposed to the more likely that something will take. Good hand washing after exposure is the plan.

    Personally I prefer to pick and choose the produce I’m buying at the grocery store. As I said earlier this week my stepdaughter buys everything in plastic boxes and has little chance to see how fresh it appears. Guaranteed that the folks packing those little boxes put the better looking stuff on the outside and any bruises will be on the bottom. I will always wash it before consumption and if a leafy vegetable I will discard the outer leaves. I also tend to overcook things to make sure I kill everything on it. She also gloves up to clean the toilet, I don’t at home but always did at work. My rational is toilet germs at home are already being shared by all others in the house. I don’t always wash after I pee at home either. On the other hand in a public bathroom I always do. How many of you have seen the person in front of you wash their hands and then grab the doorknob to exit the bathroom? I open the door with the towel I used to dry my hands. Ladies, you should try and avoid men’s rooms or unisex bathrooms. Most men have an aversion to lifting the seat and will try and pee between the sides of the seat. If you must use it at the very least wipe it down with sanitizer and give it a couple of minutes to be effective.

    Germs tend to like wet and warm. They don’t tolerate boiling very well at all. Dish sponge or cloths tends to grow lots of germs. My dear ex stepson-in-law (hope he is enjoying his time in the penitentiary) once told me I wasn’t being very sanitary because I used a dish sponge. I asked him if he had a sponge sterilizer at home and he said he’d never heard of such a thing. I took my sponge, wet it and put it in the microwave. Hit 2 minutes and told him it will be sterile when it comes out. Wet and warm, Think of those little plastic boxes of veggies as tiny green houses. How many times do you see condensation on the inside of them?

    Vaccines, Your choice but know what you’re choosing. Tetanus has a rather high mortality out of the hospital and not everybody hospitalized for it makes it. It is also an extremely painful disease. It is everywhere! Mostly as spores, (think of a spore as germ seed.) You can not pick up a cubic inch of soil without finding it. it is in your stool

    .Flu, 30,000 deaths from your average outbreak, 250,000 deaths a day with the Spanish flu after World War 1. If the Avian (bird) flu ever mutates and becomes easily transmittable to humans it could make the Spanish flu look like a walk in the park. It could kill more than half of the world. Go the ER if you think you have it? There will probably be armed guards to keep you out. If you get in and don’t have it you might have it when you get home. That is one scenario where me and mine would definitely bug in. After it is identified it will spread. The longer it has been out there the more likely it is you will be exposed if you are in public. If you have a bugout location you should quarantine folks as they arrive.

    Shingle won’t kill you but it could make you wish you were dead. if you had chickenpox as a young person and moat of us over the age of 40 or so have you have the virus in you. A vaccine for it can lessen the chance you will have an outbreak if you do have an outbreak it is likely that it will not be as severe. If you do get it it’s likely the you will wish you had the vaccination.

    Just my 2 cents worth, adjust to a quarter for inflation.

  36. Hi ya’ll,
    One last little thing. When you’re pumping gas, use a paper towel to push the buttons, hold the nozzle and lever. I remember a study done that the gas pumps are the nastiest places on the planet! If they have paper towels in the windshield cleaning “thing-a-ma-gig”, I use those. If not, I carry paper towels.
    Yep, I’m the one in the scrubs, afraid to touch the gas pump!
    luv ya’ll, Beach’n

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