How to Fend Off the Flu at Work
It’s National Preparedness Month and we want you to be prepared for the upcoming flu season (October through May). Influenza, or the flu, affects 5 to 20 percent of the U.S population each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Out of those affected, tens of thousands are hospitalized and thousands die from flu-related illnesses. Furthermore, the direct medical expenses cost an estimated $10 billion a year. An additional $16 billion worth of earnings is lost annually.
Considering these facts, we should all be very careful to not contract the flu virus. During the flu season, the workplace is a common area where you can get the flu. Yet, you can lower your chances of getting sick at work by following proper prevention measures. Here are essential tips to prevent the flu for both employers and employees.
- Get an annual flu vaccination and encourage workers to do the same. To minimize the number of sick days employees take, provide onsite seasonal flu vaccination to employees at a low or no cost. To accomplish this more easily, have an onsite occupational health clinic. If you don’t have one, contact a pharmacy and community vaccinator to provide seasonal flu vaccination services on-site.
- Hire a professional company to sanitize the workplace.
- Instruct workers on proper handwashing, cough etiquette, and avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
- Ensure there are plenty of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and disposable wipes in the offices.
- Advise workers to not use one another’s work tools, desks, phones or computers.
- Have fewer group meetings and communicate more via email or phone calls. When you must have meetings, make sure the meeting areas are properly aired. Also, workers should stay at least six feet away from one another.
- Limit the number of people that visit the workplace during the flu season.
- Get vaccinated for influenza each year. Encourage coworkers and family to get vaccinated as well.
- Learn what measures will be taken if an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs. Check if flu vaccinations are offered on-site.
- Avoid physical contact, such as shaking hands, with people who are sick. Wash your hands after physical contact with others. Use a hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water.
- If you wear gloves, wash your hands after removing them.
- Don’t touch your nose, mouth, and eyes.
- If you start feeling sick while at work, go home immediately. Don’t go to work if you have the flu.
- Exercise cough etiquette: cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If tissues are not available, use your upper sleeve. Dispose of tissues in no-touch trash receptacles.
- If you use equipment, clean and disinfect them regularly. Take care of and replace personal protective equipment (PPE) often.
- Keep at least a six-foot distance between coworkers and customers. Avoid using coworkers’ phones, desks, offices or work tools, and routinely clean the surfaces and objects you frequently touch.
Call PuroClean to sanitize your property and stop the spread of influenza. We provide an unmatched service experience quickly and professionally, cleaning surface areas in order to protect you and those around you from this dangerous virus.