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.
Every year, flu has a huge negative impact on workplace health so leading occupational health providers Medigold Health have put together this handy checklist of dos and don’ts to help advise staff on flu protection:
- Don’t confuse flu with having an everyday heavy cold!
Symptoms come on quickly and include tiredness, fever, aching muscles and shivering. Flu is not pleasant and can make you feel too unwell to continue your usual activities or continue working.
- Leave it too late to have a flu jab
It is considered best to have the jab as early as possible from early October, but don’t worry if this isn’t possible, you can have the vaccine later in the winter. It’s a simple and quick procedure and rarely causes problems.
- Think you can take antibiotics to cure flu
Flu (Influenza or Seasonal Influenza) is caused by a virus (not bacteria) so antibiotics won’t beat it.
- If you do get flu, allow yourself time to recover
Although symptoms will usually peak after two to three days, however you may have a lingering cough and still feel very tired for a further two to three weeks.
- Consider others
If you do get flu, remember that it is highly infectious and is spread by breathing in droplets from the air that contains the virus. These come from the coughs and sneezes of infected people
- Protect yourself with the flu jab!
Flu can attack anyone – the NHS estimate that 15-20 per cent of the population gets flu every year, so everyone should consider having the vaccination. The flu vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus that can cause unpleasant illness. Studies have shown that the flu jab does work and will help prevent you getting the flu.
- Remember that flu is more dangerous for some than others
Although flu will clear up on its own, it can be more severe and dangerous in certain people, such as:
- Anyone aged over 65 and over
- Pregnant women
- Children and adults with an underlying health condition, particularly long-term heart or respiratory disease.
- Children and adults with weakened immune system.
- Remember you will need a new flu jab each year
The flu virus changes constantly you need to rebuild your defences with a new flu jab each year. Because the flu strains often change the flu jab cannot guarantee 100% that you’ll be flu free, but if you do get flu after vaccination it’s likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it would otherwise have been.
- Tell your nurse, before having a vaccination, if you have an allergy to egg products or have had a reaction to a previous ‘flu jab’
Promoting workplace health – 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.
For expert advice on improving workplace health contact occupational health providers, Medigold, today to find out how you can improve business productivity through staff health programmes and education.