Get Vaccinated to Prevent Flu Season This Fall
The leaves are turning color and rainfall is returning to the Pacific Northwest. This can mean only one thing: the end of summer and the return of fall. Many of us love the autumn season for things like sweater weather, pumpkin spice, and falling leaves. However, one thing many of us are not prepared for as autumn approaches is flu season. In fact, according to the CDC, seasonal flu activity typically begins around October.
Flu season is not just an issue because it makes people feel miserable and cuts into plans and activities. Flu season also happens to be one of the biggest drains on workplace productivity and production throughout the year. According to the CDC, the flu is responsible for about 17 million lost workdays every year, totaling to roughly $6.2 billion in costs mainly due to lost productivity. The CDC also reports that the overall national economic burden of influenza-attributable illnesses for adults is $83.3 billion and that the direct medical costs for flu in adults totals at $8.7 billion. That is a staggering amount of money being lost as a direct result of flu season.
One of the biggest things you can do to protect yourself and your fellow associates from flu season is to receive, and encourage others to receive the flu vaccine. By being immunized, you significantly reduce your chances of catching the flu. The CDC suggests a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older, and that immunization should occur as soon as the yearly vaccine becomes available, by the end of October if possible. Because the flu virus is constantly changing, it is not surprising for new flu viruses to appear each year. Therefore, it is necessary for you to receive immunization every flu season –even if you received a flu shot last year. You can contact your local physician to find out places offering immunization.
Some other things you can do to protect yourself during the flu season is to take everyday preventive actions, including:
- Avoid being close to people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often, especially after touching public communal surfaces such as door handles. If soap and water are not available, use a disinfectant hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs are often spread in these areas.
If you do become sick, do your best to avoid spreading the flu by avoiding others who are not sick, covering your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze, and staying home when you are sick.
For employers, it is very important to convey the impact that flu season has on businesses and productivity, and to stress the necessity for flu vaccination and preventative action. As stated by the CDC, healthy working adults who receive yearly influenza vaccines experience significantly fewer days of illness, make fewer doctor visits for such illnesses, and take fewer days off from work than those who do not. Some things the CDC recommends to reduce the rate of flu transmission amongst employees are:
- Provide vaccine education through mailings or media
- Post reminders for recommended vaccines
- Provide information of nearby vaccine providers, their hours and access
- Reduce out-of-pocket costs for employees
- Encourage sick employees to not come into work
- Encourage good handwashing and hygiene amongst employees
Flu vaccination and prevention directly translates to lost profits and costs due to loss of productivity. Entek not only wants our employees to come to work feeling healthy and well, but we also want to continue providing the community with the same level of service and quality without a hitch. Entek has made a significant effort this season to follow CDC recommendations, hosting infectious disease prevention training and passing out educational flyers informing about flu season and resources where employees can find local, low-cost flu immunization options. On top of helping to educate our workforce, Entek also has been providing hand sanitizers and Clorox wipes to our employees to help keep them healthy and prevent the flu.
Do not hesitate to be immunized this autumn season. Be alert to any news of local health clinics and pharmacies offering flu vaccines or deals on vaccinations. If you want to learn more about the flu vaccine and where you can be vaccinated, you can call your physician or a local pharmacist, or refer to the educational flyers provided by Entek. We at Entek want to keep our work family healthy and working this upcoming flu season.