By Jenny Kazan-Mills, SPHR
H1N1 is the main influenza strain this year accounting for 12 deaths in San Diego County, so far, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. While last year’s (and prior years) deaths are typically those who are 65 and older, this year younger individuals (people in their 50’s) are being affected. The impact of the flu in the workplace makes it important, as business owners and HR professionals, to encourage our employees to practice good hygiene and get flu shots as soon as possible. Employees who come to work ill impact the workplace by being less productive and by spreading the flu to others. Children tend to spread the flu more rapidly. Here are some prevention tips:
- Wash hands regularly with soap and water. If you are in a crowded area like an airport take extra care on utilizing good hygiene practices.
- Beware: infections spread by touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Try to avoid being around sick people.
- Clean work places regularly especially common areas like kitchens and copy rooms, and equipment like computers, phones, etc.
If employees get ill, staying at home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone is a best practice. Employees with current medical conditions should be especially prudent in self-monitoring their own health care practices, including making sure to get a flu shot.