Prevent the flu this season by taking action to protect yourself and avoid exposure to sick people. Follow these simple steps to lower your chances of getting the flu this year, and learn best practices for your workplace.
Get the Flu Vaccine
An important step to help prevent yourself from getting the flu and spreading it to others is to get the influenza vaccine. The Mayo Clinic recommends getting vaccinated each year before the end of October, but you can do it anytime. The vaccine takes up to two weeks to offer the highest level of protection, so get this step out of the way before peak flu season arrives.
Follow OSHA Guidelines
OSHA guidelines include steps employers and employees can take to prevent the flu and other illnesses from spreading in the workplace. These include:
- Staying home if you are sick. An employee should not return to work until at least 24 hours after fever has subsided (without the use of medication).
- Practice proper hand washing after using the bathroom, coughing or sneezing. All employees should always wash their hands before and after touching shared or common surfaces, devices, tools, and utensils.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes and try to avoid shaking hands with sick co-workers.
- Sneeze into a tissue or upper sleeve.
- Frequently sanitize phones, keyboards, coffee pots, microwaves and other often-touched devices.
- Discourage employees from using other co-workers’ equipment or work stations whenever possible
- Participate in training and offer training to employees.
The National Safety Education Center offers OSHA #7210 – Pandemic Influenza and Workplace Preparedness. This course provides information on how businesses, communities and families can develop realistic strategies to prepare for a pandemic event. Course topics include minimizing exposure to co-workers and family members and resources available from OSHA and other government agencies. The course is offered through NSEC and our host training organizations several times each year, usually in the fall, but can also be taught upon request. For more information on requesting this and other custom courses, click here.