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How to keep flu epidemics out of the workplace

Recent figures have revealed that flu cases are again on the increase across the United Kingdom. From Aussie Flu to Japanese Flu, the various strains of influenza are hitting the headlines again at this time of year.

Some experts are predicting that we could now be in for the worst flu outbreak in more than five decades. Scary stuff!

Whatever name it goes under, the last thing you need is a flu epidemic in your office. So take heed of our advice below to keep these highly contagious viruses outside of your office doors…

What is Aussie flu?

Aussie flu (or to give the virus its official Star-Wars-robot-like name, H3N2) is a strain of flu which affected hundreds of people in the Southern Hemisphere. It is now feared that our Antipodean cousins have shared the virus with the UK.

Symptoms include fever, aching muscles, a chesty cough, headaches, nausea and diarrhoea. Not things you want to be spreading around your workplace!

How to keep flu epidemics out of your workplace

Although Aussie Flu and Japanese Flu are the names you are probably hearing about most at the moment, you can prevent most types of flu in very much the same way.

Here are some simple dos and donts…

Keep flu at home

First and foremost, make sure you don’t force your employees to come to work if they have flu-like symptoms such as the ones mentioned above.

Likewise, if staff are already at work and complain of flu-like symptoms then send them home straight away.

Tell your affected employees to stay home, keep warm, drink lots of water, get plenty of rest and take paracetamol (or ibuprofen) regularly.

Hopefully, that advice, taken from the NHS website, should have them virus-free and back at work within a couple of weeks.

Better to lose one valuable employee to sickness for a couple of weeks rather than have them spread the virus to everyone in your workplace.

Introduce a flu jab culture

Encourage all of your staff to get flu jabs. Strains change every year, so get your employees into the habit of topping up their flu jab on an annual basis.

Lead by example. Get a flu jab yourself and let everyone else know about it. Prevention is better than cure!

Keep it clean

We’ve written before about the importance of keeping your office clean and sanitised – but, with regards flu epidemics, that advice is even more important than ever.

Read the article and put our recommendations in place, but also remember that flu spreads by germs from coughs and sneezes. Those bugs can survive on hands and work surfaces for over 24 hours, so it’s extra important that yourself and your staff also realise the importance of personal hygiene to stop germs spreading.

Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds – especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose – and dispose of tissues regularly.

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