Immunity-Boosting Foods and Adjusting the A/C: 5 Ways to Prevent Summer Colds From Emptying Your Office

Posted by on Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 with 2 Comments

Most of us start to worry about getting sick as the temperature drops and the holidays draw near — we get our flu shots, stock up on vitamin C packets before we travel, and keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on our desks at all times. When summer comes, we tend to let our guard down… just in time for the summer cold season.

Yes, it’s true: the second most frequent season for illness occurs between June and October, when a family of viruses known as enteroviruses cause between 10 to 15 million cases of illness every year. And unlike the rhinoviruses that plague the winter months, the summer enteroviruses tend to stick around for longer periods of time, and bring along a different, highly unpleasant family of symptoms, from rashes to diarrhea to painfully sore throats. However, just like winter colds, the key to avoiding these extended illnesses — and either missing work or spreading the virus throughout the office — is prevention!

disinfectant spray office

Keeping a clean workspace is one step towards a healthy summer at the office.
Image source: Flickr user Alpha

So in the name of National Employee Wellness Month, let’s talk about the slightly less exciting side of workplace wellness: staying healthy and avoiding those nasty summer colds! And from office meals to the air conditioner, there are more ways to boost immunity than you might think. Here are six of the best ways to keep your office from emptying out due to illness this summer:

1) Keep your workspaces clean! Since enteroviruses travel in saliva, mucus, and stools — and even coming in contact with a contaminated surface can get you sick — keep hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes readily supplied around the workplace. Offices can be magnets for germs, so regularly wipe down surfaces like telephones, keyboards, break room tables, and your desk itself. You don’t need to be obsessive, but be mindful, and always use a little hand sanitizer after you leave the restroom… because you never know what has come into contact with a doorknob.

2) Allow employees to telecommute. If someone feels under the weather — or has a sick child — encourage them to work remotely from home: healing will happen faster, and the rest of the team won’t be exposed to their germs. Plus, this practice will help communicate that wellness and health is of real importance to the company, which will only help all employees feel valued and engaged!

kale sweet potatoes and strawberries

Kale, sweet potatoes, strawberries: this is a plate full of immunity-boosting food!
Image source: Flickr user Bing

3) Serve immunity-boosting foods! Everyone knows about vitamin C, but there are several other vitamins and minerals that have been identified as immunity-boosting powerhouses: zinc, selenium, and certain antioxidants are also key to maintaining your health. Plan one of our suggested immunity-boosting office lunches, and use the opportunity to remind your team to eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains for optimum health.

4) Turn up the A/C a few degrees. Some research points to artificially frigid temperatures as a culprit for prolonged illness, likely due to the constant shock of coming and going into extreme temperature differences… or the way air conditioners remove moisture from the air, drying out the protective mucus that lines our noses. Either way, keeping it a few degrees warmer may help!

exercise balls in the office

A little exercise goes a long way towards maintaining your health.
Image source: Flickr user Kelly Cookson

5) Make exercise part of the regular office routine. Not only does exercise help your all-around health, but it specifically promotes good circulation, which is key to transporting the antibodies needed to battle incoming viral cells. Host a regular yoga class in an empty conference room, keep a few hula hoops and jump ropes in the break room, or just organize a daily lunch hour walk around the neighborhood: even a little exercise every day can make a big difference on employee wellness! is on your side when it comes to workplace wellness — our menus include many healthy, wholesome choices for office meals, and our convenient online ordering and fast delivery ensure you’ll still have plenty of time to squeeze in a mid-day walk around the block or a quick trip to the gym. And no matter what time of year, your team will appreciate knowing that their employer has their best interests at heart!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

2 responses to “Immunity-Boosting Foods and Adjusting the A/C: 5 Ways to Prevent Summer Colds From Emptying Your Office”

  1. ben says:

    I think office sanitation is a key point made. I have worked places were I am certain the telephone is what spread viruses around. People put their mouths right on it. It is very easy to spread something around the entire office that way. I am not so sure about the air conditioning part. I think illness is more likely to spread when it is warmer. Also, in my experience when I get overheated, I find that stresses my system more than if I am cold. I can just bundle up. It is kind of hard to strip down in an office setting. I think promoting healthy eating is also key. I never eat worst than when I am working. I will eat anything that is offered and there tends to be a lot of junk food floating around the places where I have worked.

    • Sara says:

      You’re right Ben – it’s way too easy to eat whatever’s convenient when you’re busy at work. Some studies have shown that a bowl of food even being four feet away – just out of arm’s reach – will keep people from snacking. So if you find yourself unable to resist dipping into the candy bowl… just take one piece, and then put the rest just out of sight. It really does work!