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Flu Season Safety

It is estimated that in the United States, an average of 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu, each year.

Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly.

It is estimated that in the United States, each year on average 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, typical seasonal flu outbreaks cost employers some $10.4 billion in hospitalization and outpatient visits– that number doesn’t include the costs related to the worker being away from the job and lost productivity.

The precise timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but activity often begins to increase in October, peak between December and March, and last as late as May.

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Those are the symptoms, but what can you do to help prevent contracting the flu?

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Another precaution you can take is by getting a flu vaccine. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.

Staying healthy is also important:

  • Regular exercise
  • Adequate sleep
  • Proper diet
  • Thorough hand washing
  • And avoiding those who have the flu are all smart strategies for wellness
  • People with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to the flu.

Encourage workers not to bring the flu into work and spread the illness to workers and to of course understand and comply with organizational policies for sick leave.