As we all turn to an unsure autumn, one thing is certain. The flu will not be taking a break this year. While we all had our fill of infectious disease, and missing employees because of it, one fact remains. This is going to be a very bad year to come down with the flu. Luckily for all of us, the common flu is something we have covered. It is like magic, every year they test and formulate the best possible vaccine they can. And they do this to help us all get through the winter.
There are two things to keep in mind this year when it comes to the flu. First, we have to consider the nature of the flu itself. An average of 111 million missed work days are reported every year, just because of the flu. And there is more at stake than that. Coronavirus or not. Influenza claims the lives of an estimated 36,000 people every year, according to the CDC. A lot of its victims are those of advanced age or those with pre-existing conditions.
There are a number of policies to implement at work to help navigate the season. You can do things like have increased handwashing protocols, flexible part-time in-office schedules to decrease exposure, and good sick-time policies to encourage those infected to stay home. But, really, there is no greater precaution than a staff of people who have received the flu shot.
As we all know, usually there is a set cast of those who are recommended to get the vaccine each year. Among them are hospital workers like doctors, nurses, techs, and more. But also school teachers, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems make the list. This is actually a misconception.
Since 2019, the CDC has recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months get the flu shot each and every year. The exceptions are actually few and far between those under 6 months of age or those with life-threatening allergies to ingredients of the shot. Allergic people are fairly rare, but you can talk with your doctor if it is something that concerns you. In fact, one of the most common allergies that affect vaccine use comes around when egg is used. The flu shot, however, is safe for people with egg allergies.
So, now that you know you’re most likely very eligible, let’s think about why this is so important this year. Influenza is a viral disease that attacks your respiratory system. Besides chills, aches, fever, cough, headache, and more, the flu can be responsible for shortness of breath, chest pains, seizures, and more. Those worst-case scenarios would require a trip to the hospital.
You don’t want to find yourself needing that level of care in the middle of a covid surge. If every bed is taken, your flu-related dehydration or lung pain could lead to something worse, before anyone has a chance to even help you.
The bottom line is that getting a flu shot is an easy way to take care of yourself and encouraging the shot at work is a way to keep your employees safe as well.