We would like to talk this week about influenza or the flu. Because of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in this year’s flu season, it is very important that everyone knows how the flu is spread and what they can do to help.
The flu affects most people at some point in their lives. Almost everybody experiences it multiple times in their lifetime. It is most deadly to those individuals with a weak immune system and those older than 65 years old. Some flu seasons are worse than others. The flu virus is often the most active beginning in late October and can last as late as early May. In the past three decades, the influenza virus was most active during the months of February and December.
It is important to lower your risk of getting the flu. Vaccination has been proven to be the most effective way to prevent the influenza virus. Each year research is done to see what viruses are most likely for that particular season and which vaccination will be the most effective to prevent it. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
Ways to Prevent the Spread of the Flu
- Get vaccinated because getting vaccinated is the single best way to prevent getting the flu.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. To protect others from getting sick you should keep your distance while you are sick.
- If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others. Imagine if over half of your work crew missed work for more than a week because of an infected worker coming into work. In some businesses where timelines are tight a situation like this can cause serious financial issues.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- 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, nose, or mouth because germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- 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.
How could a flu epidemic within our workforce affect our business?