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CDC declares the flu “widespread.” These 5 tips can stop it

It’s one of the worst flu seasons in years; use these ideas to keep your workers healthy and your business going.

posted January 25, 2017

With flu cases increasing in Oregon, SAIF wants to make sure the flu stays out of your workplace.

That's why we're recommending several tips for workers to stay healthy this winter:

  • Get vaccinated. Find out where to get your flu shot at flushot.healthmap.org.
  • Wash your hands. Or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or elbow—not your hand.
  • Make healthy choices. Eat healthy foods, get good sleep, manage stress, and get plenty of fresh air and exercise. 
  • If you do get sick, stay home. Oregon law requires employers with 10 or more employees to provide 40 hours of paid leave per year.

In addition to encouraging workers to stay home when they are under the weather, businesses could also consider having a contingency plan for this time of year to anticipate being short a few employees.

"Whether an employee is out due to illness, or even an injury, extra work falls to the other staff members," said Sabrina Freewynn, Total Worker Health consultant at SAIF. "This increases the likelihood of additional injuries or illness for those employees still at work, as they have more to do and more stress as a result."

Contingency plans could include bringing in additional staff, addressing staffing shortfalls, and communicating to employees about the plan.

"Staff members out sick will feel less stress knowing they aren't leaving their fellow workers in the lurch," said Freewynn.

The CDC has declared the flu as "widespread" in Oregon since the week of December 24, and the Oregon Health Authority reported 172 new influenza-associated hospitalizations the first week of the year.

For more information on flu prevention at work, including posters featuring Flu Fighters Maxine Vaccine and Sleevie Nix, visit saif.com/flu.