The flu has officially become an epidemic. In Washington State, we’re on track for the worst flu season in the last six years. There have been 46 flu-related deaths this season, and a record number of hospitalizations across the state. Nationally, there are nearly 111 million workdays lost due to the flu. That equals approximately $7 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity.
It’s time to get serious about this issue. The flu is obviously not going to go away on its own, and we need to take action if we want to start seeing positive changes.
Let’s be honest: is the flu equitable with cancer or AIDs or some other dreadful disease? Of course not. But unlike these other illnesses, the flu can affect anyone at anytime. It is so readily contagious that it accounts for an estimated 31.4 million out-patient doctor visits each year. And 60% of all recorded flu hospitalizations are amongst 18 to 64 year olds, which means every one of your employees is at risk.
You should already know by now that the single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands can often help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. These are all things your parents probably taught you as a child, but we’ve found they occasionally need to be repeated:
AVOID CLOSE CONTACT
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to help protect them from getting sick too.
STAY HOME WHEN YOUR ARE SICK
If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
COVER YOUR MOUTH AND NOSE
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
CLEAN YOUR HANDS
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
AVOID TOUCHING YOUR EYES OR MOUTH
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
PRACTICE GOOD HEALTH HABITS
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
Workplaces offer many opportunities for people to interact, and more interaction between people in close contact increases the risk for respiratory illnesses like the flu to spread. These workers then take the virus home to their children and families, perpetuating the cycle. Preventing illness among your employees is a sure-fire way to support steady workplace operations, not to mention a healthy community.
At the end of the day, the only proven method for staying ahead of flu season is getting a yearly flu shot. This year, Worker Care is continuing to offer the quadrivalent flu shot, which means we can help protect your employees from FOUR different strains of the flu virus. That means less time lost from work, and healthier employees and their families. So if you want to get serious about stopping the flu, give us a call and get your employees the vaccine before it starts taking a toll on your business. We only have a few more doses left for the beginning of the year, but now is the time to make your reservation for this fall’s flu season. Contact us today and make your reservation before we fill up.
Want more information? Check out the Center for Disease Control’s business website and get more information about how the flu can affect the health of your business.