Each year, seasonal flu has a marked impact on businesses and employers. Seasonal flu can cause increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, and higher health care costs. As an employer, you are well-positioned to help keep your employees healthy and minimize the impact that the flu has on your business.
Encourage Employees to Get the Flu Vaccine
One of the most important steps for preventing the flu is to get an annual flu vaccination. The CDC recommends that all people over the age of six months get a flu vaccine each year. If circumstances allow, consider hosting an onsite flu vaccination clinic. If you are unable to host a clinic, you can still emphasize the importance of vaccination to your employees and educate them about local opportunities to get vaccinated.
Educate Your Employees
Share these flu prevention strategies and reminders with your employees:
- Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water (or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer).
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home from work when sick, and limit contact with others.
Because the flu is highly contagious, one sick employee can infect a whole office both before and after exhibiting symptoms. The following segment of this article includes how to tell the difference between a common cold and the flu as well as tips for prevention. Feel free to share this information your employees as you see fit. Click here to download a printable flyer.
Cold or Flu? How to Spot the Difference
Though the common cold and seasonal influenza share several symptoms, there are points of differentiation that will help you identify which you may have in order to seek proper treatment. It is important to tell the difference, as the flu can result in more serious health complications, while the cold likely will not.
- Symptoms typically come on gradually.
- Common symptoms include nasal congestion, sneezing, and runny nose.
- Can also include cough, mild headache, and minor body aches.
- Symptoms tend to last a week.
- Over-the-counter medications are generally effective.
- Symptoms usually come on suddenly and are more severe than a cold.
- Common symptoms include high-grade fever, headache, body aches, and fatigue.
- Can also include dry cough, sore throat, and runny or stuffy nose.
- Symptoms generally improve within two to five days but can last a week or more.
- Prescription anti-viral drugs can help decrease the severity and length of symptoms; call a doctor if you think your symptoms are worsening or if you have a condition such as asthma, diabetes, or are pregnant.
- Get a seasonal flu vaccine each year.
- Wash hands frequently.
- Sanitize commonly touched surfaces.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- If you are sick, cough and sneeze into your elbow to prevent spreading germs to others.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Stay hydrated.
- Eat a healthy diet, including foods rich in vitamins C and E.
- Exercise regularly.
- Listen to your body – if you start feeling cold or flu symptoms, take it easy and give your body a chance to fight and recover.
Visit www.cdc.gov/flu/business for additional information and resources.