Hack! Shiver! Sneeze! Cough!
While winter often brings to mind holiday parties, gift exchanges and fireside chew toys, it’s also a miserable time for those unfortunate souls who get sick. The typical air inside an office building is circulated less than 12 times an hour, compared to 15 times per hour on a plane. Think about that the next time you worry about getting sick from “stale” cabin air. I traveled in the cargo hold of a jetliner once, and it was freezing! Next time I’ll bring a blanket!! With flu vaccines resulting in employees taking 45% fewer sick days, more companies are taking notice and getting involved in prevention.
When most people think about winter diseases, the first thing that comes to mind is influenza. It’s estimated that 5 to 20 percent of U.S. adults come down with seasonal flu every year. While we pets enjoy having our owners at home, they typically lie in bed and watch bad daytime TV when they’re ill. According to the CDC, 119 million doses of flu vaccine had been distributed this year as of September 24. That amount is a substantial increase of 30 million doses, compared to the amounts which were sent the same time last year.
Although analysts at the CDC are predicting a milder flu season this winter, they are still stressing that everyone gets vaccinated. Keep an eye on us pooches too! Canine influenza affects millions of dogs, so take us to the vet when we are coughing!
You may ask, “What about H1N1, the “swine flu?” It’s still out there, although research estimates that 59% of the U.S. population is now immune.
Respiratory Synctial Virus, commonly known as RSV, is another very common lung and respiratory tract infection. It’s so prevalent that researchers state almost all children age two and under have had the disease. While it is the biggest threat to smaller children, and especially premature infants, RSV can also cause problems for adults, sending individuals who have heart or lung disease to the hospital. As a building owner or manager, you can take steps to educate RSV-infected individuals about the benefits of staying at home, away from tenants and employees who are parents of small children. I know I like to look out for the puppies. So please do the same for little babies!
What can property-owners and managers do to mitigate the effects of winter illness?
- Set up a flu vaccine clinic at your building. Many private companies will provide qualified nurses, consent forms and the latest vaccine. Another event to consider is a mobile treats bar attended by qualified experts from the bacon and steak industries…
- Distribute information about recognizing the symptoms of flu and other winter diseases.
- Consider new HVAC systems that better circulate and clean the air.
- Adopt policies regarding sick employees, including work-from-home arrangements for vital staff.
A real focus on workplace health can pay immediate and long-term benefits. Healthier employees mean more productive and profitable tenants who might need additional office or industrial space. Healthy people also have more energy for walks and trips to the dog park!
When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.