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5 tips for preventing seasonal flu

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness. Flu-related illnesses can require hospitalization and even lead to death. To protect employee health and limit productivity losses, employers should encourage employees to take precautions against catching the flu or infecting others at work. Our tips can help.

flu prevention

1  Encourage vaccinations

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends an annual shot for everyone six months or older, with certain exceptions. When employers encourage employees to get a seasonal flu shot –for example, by hosting a free or low-cost flu vaccination clinic at work – they are helping to fulfill their duty to provide a safe work environment under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

2  Keep workplaces clean

You should clean frequently touched work surfaces, areas, and equipment, including phones, computers, and copiers. Provide disinfectants and disposable towels for workers to use to keep their work spaces clean, and place no-touch wastebaskets where employees can dispose of used tissues.

3  Promote healthy habits

Establish a wellness program that encourages employees to eat healthy and get plenty of exercise and rest (seven to eight hours per night).

4  Inform employees

Flu spreads easily through coughing and sneezing, so post signs about cough etiquette (covering coughs with tissues, sneezing into upper sleeves) and proper hand washing (using soap and water for 20 seconds, or an alcohol-based hand rub). Train employees to avoid touching their noses, eyes, or mouths, or using co-workers’ equipment.

5  Allow flexible leave

Discuss sick-leave pay, illness during travel, and related issues with staff. Let sick employees stay home without penalizing them. The CDC recommends that workers with a fever and respiratory symptoms stay at home until 24 hours after their fever ends (100° F or lower), without medication.


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Last updated: 3/5/2018