Can Those Hot 1 Day, Cold the Next Office Temps Make You and Your Coworkers Sick?

Fitness

Closeup shot of an unrecognizable woman using a laptop while working from home

You know the struggle, never knowing which extreme your office will be from one day to the next — it’s either burning hot or freezing cold, with seemingly no in-between. Frankly, it raises a lot of questions. How do you dress for this? Are there rules about space heaters? Is it Friday yet? And then there’s this one: can these constantly changing temperatures make you sick?

“Temperature has very little effect on if you get sick at work,” Keith Roach, MD, internist at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, told POPSUGAR. “What really determines if you’re going to get sick is if the people around you are sick.”

When you think about it, the office is crawling with germs, especially during cold and flu season. “You’re touching things [your coworkers have] touched, whether it be the bathroom door or the refrigerator, and then knowingly (or unknowingly) touching your face. And some germs travel through air,” Dr. Roach said, which can make a virus that much harder to avoid. So how can you keep yourself healthy at the office? Start with these simple tips:

  1. Practice good hygiene. “Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer is an easy, effective, and quick way to protect yourself from getting sick,” Dr. Roach said.
  2. Be mindful of touching your face. Your hands are harbors for germs and bacteria, he explained. Keeping them off your face and away from your eyes and nose is key to protecting yourself from sickness.
  3. Buffer your immune system. “The best way you can ward off sickness is to get adequate sleep, manage stress, eat a healthy diet, and get regular exercise,” he said.

If you do get sick, try your best to call off work. “If you’re in close contact, you will infect your colleagues,” Dr. Roach said. And no one wants to be responsible for starting that ripple effect.

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