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Flu can be a big disruption for business. Employees who are sick may need to take time off to recover and may not be as productive when it comes to getting work done. In addition, symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and fever can spread germs to healthy employees.
The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering a cough and frequent hand-washing can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.
Tips for Fighting Flu
Everyday preventive actions that can help prevent flu and the spread of germs in the workplace include:
1. Cover Your Mouth and Nose
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through the coughing, sneezing, or talking to someone with the flu.
2. Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose, or Mouth
Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose. Routinely clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, to help remove germs.
3. Clean Your Hands
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and disposable wipes.
4. Stay Home When Sick
Employees should be encouraged to stay home from work when they are sick to help prevent others from getting ill. If there is only one employee who performs a particular task, consider training others so that coverage is available should that employee need to leave work early or stay home due to illness.
5. Practice Good Health Habits
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Resources and Printable Materials for Promoting Good Health Habits
To help businesses, employers, and their employees learn about strategies for preventing flu, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following toolkit, flyers, posters, and other materials:
- Make It Your Business To Fight The Flu: A Toolkit for Businesses and Employers
- Business/Employers Influenza Toolkit Podcast
This podcast provides information about recommended strategies to help businesses and employers promote the 2012–2013 seasonal flu vaccine.
- Recommended Strategies for Businesses and Employers
Learn what two strategies are recommended to businesses and employees this flu season.
- Promoting Seasonal Flu Vaccination: A Checklist for Businesses and Employers
- Flu Vaccine Clinic Here!
Host a flu vaccine clinic in the workplace and use this flyer–complete with fillable text boxes so you can add the location, date, and time of your flu vaccine clinic.
- You Need a Flu Vaccine
Encourage employees to get vaccinated at locations in the community. Navigate to the Flu Vaccine Finder website to find locations offering flu vaccine and then update the flyer and post.
- Note to Self
Share this flyer with employees to encourage flu vaccination. Consider posting this in the workplace, or copy and place in mailboxes or include in pay statements or newsletters.
- Note to Employers
Use this flyer with other workplace managers to kick off discussions about flu vaccination planning.
- Free Web Tools
- Cover Your Cough
- Stopping the Spread of Germs at Home, Work & School
- Everyday Preventive Actions That Can Help Fight Germs, Like Flu
- How to Clean and Disinfect Schools to Help Slow the Spread of Flu
Remember your seasonal flu shot is typically covered by your health insurance if given by your doctor.