Protecting yourself against illnesses at work

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Everyone is preparing for the new coronavirus: hospitals, airports and offices.

“To me, it’s not a matter of if it comes but when it comes,” said Dr. Cole Beeler, medical doctor of infection prevention at Indiana University Hospital. 

Experts say it’s about keeping a clean environment and being honest about recent travel.

However, if you get sick, many people are having to decide if staying home from work is worth the burden on your wallet.

“The most common symptoms for this particular viral infection are fever and cough,” said Dr. Beeler.

Add to that shortness of breath, and if you have these symptoms, you should stay home.

“Office places could potentially be a risk. It’s a risk that right now. We don’t know how high it is,” said Dr. Beeler.

Any illness can put offices at risk no matter if it’s the flu, a cold, or the coronavirus.

“We should have a low suspicion for suspected COVID in patients who haven’t traveled or haven’t been exposed to patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID,” said Dr. Beeler.

Experts advise it’s not safe to spread any of those germs.

“As employers, you really need to encourage people to stay home so they don’t infect other people,” said IU Kelley School of Business Human Resources Senior Lecturer Elizabeth Malatestinic.

However, many people still risk infecting others because they don’t have sick leave or sick pay.

Still, experts say companies can offer other ways to pay employees who are out sick.

“You can offer to compensate people or partially compensate people to stay home,” said Malatestinic.

The best practices once again is to continue washing your hands properly, and cover your mouth when you cough.

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned, you’re asked to contact your physician so you both can determine the next steps. 

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