No vaccine? Here are some tips to avoid the flu
Unless you’re a person who faces the potential of death if you catch the flu this year, you’re not going to get a vaccination any time soon and maybe not at all.
So what can you do to protect your staff and yourself from the flu and keep the wheels of commerce humming this winter? “It’s things that our mothers have taught us,” says Millie Ayres, an infection control practitioner with Washoe Medical Center.”But we need to do it.” The top preventive technique, health specialists say:Wash your hands often.
Put signs around the office or shop encouraging employees to wash their hands.
An alternative is use of one of the antiseptic hand cleaning products that are on the market.
In fact, employers who want to make a statement about the importance of their employees’ health might make sure each worker has a bottle of antiseptic hand cleaner and a box of tissues nearby, says Lisa Dettling, director of health and wellness for Saint Mary’s Health Network.
Even better than coughing into a tissue to catch germs, she said, is coughing into a sleeve.
That’s a technique commonly used by employees of physicians’ offices.
Make a conscious effort to keep your hands away from eyes, nose and mouth during flu season, says Ayres.
And if you do get sick, stay home, says Dettling.Your staff may miss you, but not as much as you’ll miss the rest of your crew if they catch the flu from you.
You can reduce your risks, too, if you get plenty of rest and physical activity,manage your stress, eat well and drink plenty of water during the flu season, says the Washoe District Health Department.
While health officials have emphasized that the flu vaccine is available this year only for senior citizens, little children and those with health problems that leave them at risk of death if they catch the flu, Dettling notes that some working people need to be vaccinated.
That includes diabetics and people with asthma.Employers, she says, can play a role in making sure those people recognize the risks and get their flu shots.
Others who should receive vaccinations include women who will be pregnant during the flu season, health-care workers who are involved in direct care of patients, and people who care for children less than six months old.
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