flu workplace wellness

With Flu Outbreak Increasing, Role for Workplace Wellness Also Grows

We recently offered our mid-season flu reminder, emphasizing how protecting against the flu helps employees individually and businesses generally.

Since that posting, news of this years influenza outbreak seems to have intensified. For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “for the week ending January 13, the proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like illness (ILI) was 6.3%, which is above the national baseline of 2.2% and is the highest ILI percentage recorded since the 2003-2004 season.”

Further, the issue is not contained to just one geographical area.

CDC: “All 10 regions reported a proportion of outpatient visits for ILI at or above their region-specific baseline levels. ILI has been at or above the national baseline for eight weeks so far this season.”

And recently, more bad news about how easily the flu can spread. Smithsonian Magazine reports: “Simply Exhaling May Spread Flu: A new study suggests the virus is found in tiny airborne particles that can be released while breathing.”

So what can be done in the workplace?

The CDC recommends:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, 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. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • 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.