With sudden onset of congestion, body aches, fever and chills, over the past few months, millions of Americans have been battling Influenza, aka the flu. Worse yet, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that, worldwide, somewhere between 300,000 and 646,000 people die each year from seasonal flu-related respiratory illnesses.
Did you know that a dog flu is going around, too? Good thing neither strain crosses the human/canine barrier. The threat to the workforce from such a debilitating and contagious illness is notable. In an article in Time Health, Dr. Jonathan D. Quick points to complacency as the reason the bug has reached epidemic proportions:
“The news is full of stories about hospitals resorting to tents to accommodate the influx of patients and parents dealing with school closings in nearly every state… As a global health professional with four decades of experience in combating epidemics, my mind is on the one critical thing we aren’t talking about at all as we suffer in this flu season: complacency. Put plainly, our collective flu complacency is what is killing us.”
Spread of the Disease
According to Dr. Quick, the pervasiveness of this year’s flu is owed to our collective disregard about how to prevent the infectious disease from spreading. Few of us obsessively washing our hands (or paws) with soapy hot water, sneeze into elbows (I can’t reach mine) and stay home until symptoms subside. Instead, we cavalierly pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, proud to work even while we are sick.
Simply put, the best way to stop the spread of influenza is to take allotted time off from work when feeling sick. Let’s face it, when you’re sick, you don’t feel up to working, anyway! This way, business owners can increase long-term productivity and symptomatic employees can protect themselves and others, and be ready to return to the workplace with renewed vigor.
“For those who are already sick, please stay home from work or school,” Anne Schuchat, acting director of the CDC, is quoted as urging in a recent Popular Science article. “That is such an important recommendation to follow. Otherwise, you run the risk of spreading the virus to others—and what may be mild symptoms to you could be deadly to someone else.”
5 Ways to Stop Flu in its Tracks
- Get the shot. Despite reports the vaccination is only 33 percent effective, improve your chances for staying healthy by heading to your local pharmacy or primary care physician for a flu shot.
- Avoid close contact. If you are around people who are sick, avoid their airspace. You may even consider wearing a disposable air mask. When you are out while sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from catching your germs.
- Stay home (or inside the dog house) when you are sick. As mentioned above, if possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick.
- Clean your hands often. Handwashing tips from the CDC could mean the difference between health and sickness.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches a surface or object that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
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