Best Advice for Workers Suffering from the Flu

In 2009 the world saw one of the worst flu epidemics and the United States was one of the hardest hit nations. Out of the 26 million adults in the USA who contracted the flu in 2009, only 8 million took time off work to recover. A study has found that those remaining people who never stayed at home during their sickness, passed the flu on to 7 million of their co-workers as well as countless friends, family and even strangers.

The current flu season in that country has seen similar results and with the flu season approaching us here in Oz, there will probably be those workers who believe their commitment to the job is more important than their health and the health of their co-workers. There are also those workers who believe that they will somehow be looked down upon by their employers if they stay at home sick but research by an American university has found a number of reasons why going to work with the flu is dangerous as well as selfish.

The post below was taken from www.usatoday.com and highlights the danger that contagious illnesses such as the flu pose to the entire workforce:

ap-michigan-flu-3_4_r536_c534“We know that many people are under pressure to go to work,” says Andrew Pavia, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah and an influenza adviser for the Infectious Disease Society of America.

Yet Pavia and other experts say there are many good reasons to resist that pressure during this winter’s widespread flu epidemic . Here are a few:

• You feel awful. The flu is not a cold. “The typical case of the flu starts suddenly, and you feel like you were hit by a truck,” Pavia says. For adults, he says, the flu often feels “like the worst viral illness you’ve had in 10 years.”

The flu comes with fever, aches, cough, tiredness and sudden onset — which you can abbreviate and remember as FACTS, says Susan Rehm, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

Most people with the flu are just too sick to work effectively, Pavia adds. “Many people will find they get more work done by going home and recovering than by going in and walking around like a zombie.”

• You may get better sooner. “For most infectious diseases, rest seems to speed recovery,” Pavia says. “Sometimes your mother was right.”

Rehm agrees: “It takes a lot of energy to fight an infection, and resting is one of the ways you can conserve that energy.”

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/25/flu-sick-leave-contagious/1853629/

Another reason to stay at home is to protect others not just co-workers but clients, people you meet on train etc. Although it is true according to the study that construction workers are less prone to spreading the flu to their co-workers because they work outdoors, they too should take time to rest in order to recover faster. Remember coughing and sneezing can spread the virus to people 6 feet away from you, so even on a construction site, there is still the possibility that one person could infect the entire workforce.

Because the flu comes around each year and infects thousands people underestimate its ability to kill. Although for most of us it passes and we recover fully, there are people who may die from the flu. Children, the elderly, people with heart or lung problems and people with cancer are particularly vulnerable to diseases and a bout of the flu could be fatal to them.

The post goes on to give advice to people in authority and bosses who don’t want the flu infecting their entire workforce and encourages them to be the first to go home or see a doctor when they come down with flu symptoms. The business will benefit because you won’t infect other workers (and force them to take time off worker) and workers who are at work will be performing at their best not forcing themselves to show up and be useless because they are paralysed with flu.

 

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Construction Worker’s Guard against Deadly Flu Strains

Many countries around the globe are grappling with a severe strain of the flu that has seen many workers call in sick, resulting in a reduction in productivity and a negative effect on the bottom line.

The “killer” flu has swept across America and is likely to travel to other parts of the world including Australia, if it hasn’t done so already.

Construction workers need to guard themselves against this deadly strain of the flu which has already killed 20 children in the USA.

Construction workers and the general public are being urged to get the vaccine before Winter arrives. The vaccines are made up especially each year to target the most dominant strains of that year. At the moment Influenza A strain is the most common, but Influenza B and the H1N1 swine flu still prominently occur.

Australians can look to what is happening in America and the strains that are active there as a precursor of what is to come in Australia once the flu season hits.

Read what this post on News.com.au that explains the situation:

Twenty children have died from the H2N3 virus that has swept across most of the country, there are vaccine shortages, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency.

There have already been five times as many cases reported in New York as there were in the entire flu season last year, and it’s not clear if the season has yet peaked.

Golden Globe winner Hugh Jackman is among those hit, and he said he was still battling the strain that had “swept the entire west coast” of the US.

The Australian Medical Association said the overseas experience was a “forewarning” for Australia.

“Last time the flu season peaked early (in the US) there were 50,000 deaths,” he said.

“We do tend to parallel the Northern Hemisphere in the south so it’s a forewarning that we need to get in early and vaccinate this year. “

Dr Hambleton said the flu would still come in our winter, but that widespread vaccination would protect the vulnerable and reduce the effects in the healthy.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health-fitness/the-devastating-flu-outbreak-in-the-us-could-be-on-its-way-here/story-fneuzlbd-1226553667432#ixzz2Hz6It6aj

The post also highlights the fact that tens of thousands of Australians get the flu each year and many are hospitalised and some even succumb to the illness. Those that are most vulnerable are the elderly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, pregnant women and anyone with an underlying health problem and a lowered immune system.

In addition to getting the flu vaccine, there are other steps construction workers can take in ensuring their health.

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people and if you are sick, stay at home until your fever is gone.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue in the bin immediately after using it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth because this is one of the ways germs spread
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

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