Tag Archives: flu tips

Avoid the flu this season: Tips for keeping your employees and business healthy


| Brandpoint@queenscourier.com

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), last year’s flu season began four weeks earlier than expected, resulting in the earliest flu season in a decade.

While the early arrival proved to be tough on families, it was especially difficult for small businesses and start-ups that rely on their staff to stay profitable and productive during the holidays and tax season.

The CDC estimates that each year the flu results in 75 million days of work absences and 200 million days of diminished productivity for businesses nationwide. Cumulatively, the flu costs businesses an estimated $6.2 billion in lost productivity each year, with small businesses proving to be no exception.

To keep your staff healthy and business booming, Sam’s Club and the Sam’s Club Pharmacy offer the following tips to avoid catching the flu this season:

 

* Encourage employees to get immunized

Immunizations are a simple and effective way for adults and businesses to protect themselves from catching and spreading the flu. The CDC recommends getting an annual flu immunization as the first and most important step in protecting yourself against the flu.

Get immunized early and persuade your staff to do the same.

Encourage your staff to get immunized by taking them out for lunch and immunizations.

Find a location near you that administers the flu shot. This year, your local Sam’s Club Pharmacy offers scheduled and walk-in immunization appointments for all adults age 18 and over – no membership required. Sam’s Club has also implemented additional options for adults to increase flu protection convenience including increased inventory, trained pharmacists to administer immunizations and a privacy screen at each pharmacy for a more comfortable experience.

 

* Stop the spread of germs

In addition to getting the flu immunization, simple daily measures can protect you and those around you from getting sick.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the spread of germs.

 

* Stay home when sick

If you or a staff member begins to exhibit flu-like symptoms, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from spreading the flu and infecting others.

If you are sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

Additional information about the flu, last year’s outbreak and how to avoid catching the flu this season can be found on the CDC website.

- BPT

 

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Flu demands respect


| editorial@queenscourier.com

BY SCOTT BREIDBART, M.D.

In the universe of infectious diseases, influenza, or flu, doesn’t usually gather interest. Ebola kills almost all infected people, isn’t in the United States, and had a best seller written about it. Tuberculosis, or consumption, is worldwide, continuously threatens to become immune to all treatments, and has killed many famous people, from artists to politicians. Polio kills and paralyzes, launched the March of Dimes, and its vaccine – along with that of smallpox – is one of the great triumphs of medicine.

But flu? Flu doesn’t seem to command the same level of fear and loathing. It’s common – everyone gets it at one time or another. People usually feel miserable for a week, and unless they are old, young, immune suppressed, or very unlucky, recover with nothing worse than the ire of the co-workers they spread it to.

The flu season starts in the fall and lasts into the spring, sort of like the hockey season, and like hockey, some seasons start later and there are good years and bad years. The experts cannot predict whether the season will start early, last a long time, or kill more people than usual.

So, while it may not win a Golden Globe for Worst Infectious Disease, you still DO NOT want to get it. The flu will make you feel rotten. If you are old, young, or have a poor immune system, it can kill you. If you spread it to a friend, neighbor or colleague who is fighting cancer, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or who had a transplant, it can pose a highly serious threat to their health, and they may de-friend you on Facebook.

So how can you avoid the flu?

Get a flu vaccine. Stay away from sick people or people who are complaining that they just feel achy and feverish. Get a flu vaccine. Don’t touch them, don’t shake their hands, and don’t let them cough on you. Get a flu vaccine. Wash your hands. Get a flu vaccine. And, of course, always check with your doctor if you get it (even after taking all these precautions).

This year’s flu vaccine is about 60 percent effective. That is very good. Statins don’t reduce the death from heart disease by 60 percent. Even seat belts don’t reduce crash related injuries by 60 percent.

Japan mandated flu vaccine for school children from 1962 to 1987 and 40,000 deaths a year were prevented! After the vaccination of school children was stopped, deaths from flu in Japan rose.

The flu vaccine is recommended for just about everyone over the age of six months. Get a flu vaccine. And plead (if you must) with your neighbors and friends to get a flu vaccine if they haven’t already gotten one. That’s what I’m doing.

Dr. Breidbart is Chief Medical Offi cer for Empire BlueCross BlueShield, New York’s largest health insurer, insuring nearly 6 million New Yorkers

Flu Q&A: Symptoms and treatment


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy CDC/Judy Schmidt

Not sure if that cough you’re battling is the flu or just your average cold? Here are a few symptoms that might indicate you’re fighting the flu.

Symptoms of the flu can include the sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches, as well as a cough or sore throat. These symptoms are often similar to cold symptoms, but come on more swiftly and are more pronounced.

Although most people will usually recover from flu without complications, the virus poses a more serious risk for individuals younger than age two, those over 50, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions.

Should you get a flu shot?

  • The State Health Department recommends that everyone six months of age or older receive a flu vaccination.
  • Children under six months cannot get a flu vaccination. Since the flu virus can be transmitted through coughing or sneezing, family members and people who regularly come in contact with young children or individuals at high risk for the disease get vaccinated against influenza.
  • Individuals at high risk for the flu include people who have a chronic medical condition, in addition to the very young and the very old. Also, all health care workers should be vaccinated against influenza and other communicable disease to protect their health and the health of their patients.
  • Most health insurance plans cover flu vaccines. If you don’t have health insurance, don’t panic. Individuals and families without health insurance should check with their county health department to determine if local clinics will be held to provide free vaccinations. Pharmacists are also able to give flu shots and pharmacies may be an easy and convenient place to receive a flu vaccination.

What to do if you’ve been exposed.

  • If you think you have been exposed to someone infected with the flu or a person experiencing flu symptoms, consult with your health care provider immediately to determine whether prescription antiviral drugs may be helpful.
  • Treatment with prescription antiviral medications can sometimes lessen the effects of influenza, if the treatment is started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Antibiotics are not effective against influenza.
  • Although getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent getting influenza, you can also reduce your risk by washing your hands regularly and disinfecting surfaces, such as desktops and telephones, that are touched frequently.
  • Eating healthy foods, getting enough rest and exercising regularly can also help protect against influenza and the common cold.
  • If you do experience symptoms or become ill, it is important to limit your opportunity to expose other people by staying home while ill and practicing good cough etiquette, such as coughing into your elbow instead of your hands.

 

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Flu season etiquette tips from The Emily Post Institute


| Brandpoint@queenscourier.com

Airplane: Spreading Virus on a Plane

When the flu hits, manners may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Yet, good “flu etiquette” and hygiene can go a long way in helping to prevent the spread of influenza. While most Americans recognize that the flu virus spreads easily, they admit to sometimes forgetting their manners when they have the flu: a 2011 survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that three out of four Americans (75%) would go to at least one social situation if they had symptoms of the flu (out of a list of seven).

Influenza, or “the flu,” is a contagious viral infection of the nose, throat, and lungs which occurs most often in the late fall, winter, and early spring. Flu is a serious infection which is associated, on average, with more than 200,000 hospitalizations due to flu related complications and can lead to thousands of deaths every year in the United States.

“No one wants to spread the flu to family, friends, or colleagues. Yet many of us admit to tossing our manners aside when we have the flu,” said Anna Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of the 18th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette. “Knowing how to politely cancel an event you’re hosting or how to avoid shaking your client’s hand because you’re sick can help avoid a potentially difficult and awkward situation. By following appropriate flu etiquette, we can all play a role in preventing the spread of the flu virus.”

The Emily Post Institute offers the following etiquette tips to manage common situations where the flu virus might be spread from one person to another:

1. Share space, not the flu – Covering sneezes and coughs is a good habit all year round, especially during flu season. The flu virus can spread up to six feet away from coughing, sneezing, or even just talking.

2. Know when to take a sick day – The flu is highly contagious and the people you work with don’t want to get sick. Knowing the symptoms of flu versus a cold is important so you know when to take a sick day and see a doctor. Remember the acronym F.A.C.T.S. to recognize if you might have the flu (Fever, Aches, Chills, Tiredness with Sudden Onset).

3. In tight quarters – It’s tough to point out someone’s behavior mid-flight with hours left to go. However, flu is highly contagious. If there’s no other seat available, consider saying, “I can see you’re not feeling well — would you mind covering your mouth when you cough? Thanks.” Most people when prompted are eager to show good manners and do the right thing.

“Every year, millions of Americans get influenza. We are all personally responsible for helping to control its spread,” says Susan J. Rehm, MD, medical director at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu vaccine as the first and most important step in preventing influenza, as well as good hygiene. If symptoms arise, see a doctor quickly. The flu can be treated with prescription antiviral medicines.”

To help children recognize flu symptoms, learn good habits, and pass the time with a fun activity this winter, download a free coloring book at FluFACTS.com. On FluFACTS.com, you’ll find information to help you distinguish between flu and cold symptoms, sign up for flu alerts in your area, and download a free “Fight the Flu” iPhone app.

This influenza education campaign and survey are supported by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.