Flu is one of the most common causes of sickness and absence from work, so Medigold Health, one of the UK’s leading providers of occupational health advice, has compiled this handy list of commonly held myths about flu, to help educate your staff:
1. ‘Healthy people don’t get flu.’
Anyone can catch flu. The NHS estimate that 15-20 per cent of the population gets flu every year – healthy people included. If you can catch flu, you can pass it on to those who are at more risk of serious illness.
2. ‘The side effects of the flu vaccination are really bad.’
For the most part, side effects of the seasonal flu vaccination are really mild or often non-existent. You may experience a slight soreness around the site of the injection and occasionally some aching of the muscles or a slightly raised temperature, but if this does happen it will only last for a day or two
3. ‘The flu jab isn’t safe.’
The risk of having a serious reaction to the seasonal flu vaccine is less than one in a million. It is much less than the risk of getting seriously ill from having the flu itself. The only people who should not have the vaccine are those who have a severe allergic reaction to eggs. This is because hens’ eggs are used in the manufacture of the vaccine.
4. ‘The flu jab can give you flu.’
It is impossible to get flu from having the flu jab. This is because the vaccine doesn’t contain any live viruses. Side effects similar to flu symptoms might occur, such as aching muscles, but this is simply your immune system responding to what it thinks is an attack from the flu virus.
5. ‘Flu can be treated with antibiotics.’
No it can’t. Viruses cause flu and antibiotics only work against bacteria. You may be prescribed antiviral medicines to treat flu, but antivirals do not cure flu they just make you less infectious to others and reduce the length of time you may be ill.
Health in the workplace – What employers can do
In the light of the above, Medigold Health’s message to employers is to encourage staff to protect themselves with a flu vaccination.