*This article was last updated October 2021.
According to Challenger Gray & Christmas, Inc., External Site absences due to cold and flu season could cost employers more than $13 billion in lost productivity this season.
If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it's that, no matter how healthy you are, airborne illnesses are highly contagious and spread very quickly.
Whether your employees are heading back to the office, or continue to work remotely, there's no escaping the spread of germs. You may have employees who are parents of young ones that contract or spread illness through a simple cough or sneeze. And, let's not forget about the individuals who still lack proper hand sanitation (yes, people still don’t wash their hands External Site), and when this all comes together, the cold and flu season will continue to take a toll on businesses in the United States.
Employees spend one-third of their life working External Site, which is why it's essential for employers like you to find solutions, and provide education to employees on combating the cold and flu in (and out) of the office.
It might just save your company's bottom line, and your employees' overall health and productivity.
How to stop the flu with free, ready-to-use resources
Looking for a free, quick and easy way to inform and educate your employees on how to fight the cold and flu? Look no further than BlueSM online, your employees one-stop-shop for benefit information, health and wellness tips and tricks, fitness tips, healthy recipes and more. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite flu-specific articles to share the knowledge among your employees on your intranet, newsletter or an email series.
- Flu shot facts: what you need to know Opens in a new window
- Is it just a cold or the flu? Opens in a new window
- Say no to germs Opens in a new window
- The future of antibiotics Opens in a new window
- Be flu-free Opens in a new window
- Preventive care Opens in a new window
- Hand washing hang-ups Opens in a new window
Protect your employees during flu season at work
If you’re a Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield customer, you can help stop the cold and flu from taking over your workplace each year. But how? With ready-to-share materials through the Wellmark Marketing Toolkit Opens in a new window. Check out our various educational flyers and pitch kit pieces to download and share around your workplace today.
Use this comprehensive pitch kit to find all the tools, resources and insights necessary to educate and help prevent the cold and flu season from wreaking havoc on your workplace.
Distribute or print this checklist around common areas within your workplace to educate your employees on the difference between a cold and the flu, what they can do to start feeling better, indicators of when they should go to the doctor, and resources available to them to find care faster.
Need some educational eye candy around the water cooler? This poster can be used between October and March to remind your employees of five ways they can be cold and flu-free.
Whether you host on-site flu shots every year as an added benefit to your employees or have employees who get the shot during their annual physical, give them something fun to show off. With this flu-fighter badge, your employees can post this badge at their desk for taking preventive measures.
Quick update on the upcoming flu season and COVID-19
To prepare for both flu season and COVID-19, we've rounded up some of your most pressing questions.
Will the flu and COVID-19 become worse during fall and winter?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) External Link believes that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will likely spread this fall and winter. Mask wearing, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders greatly decreased the spread of the flu last season. However, we may see an increase in flu activity now that some of those mitigation measures have eased.
Encouraging your employees to receive their routine vaccinations is essential for protecting individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks.
Will a flu shot help protect employees from COVID-19?
Getting a flu vaccination will not protect your employees against COVID-19, however flu vaccinations are still important External Site for your employees to receive since they are shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death.
Know the difference between the flu and COVID-19.
The world as we once knew it has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Both COVID-19 and the flu can have similar symptoms, but it’s important to know that they are caused by different viruses. Both illnesses can cause fever, cough, body aches and fatigue — with COVID-19 being new and continually evolving by the day, we are learning more as days, weeks and months go by it can be difficult to decipher between symptoms. Both illnesses can be spread easily through air droplets when people cough, sneeze or talk. It’s incredibly important your employees know the difference between COVID-19 and the flu External Site to ensure they don’t misdiagnose, and know when it’s time to seek care.
Want more? We’re here to help
Education doesn’t stop. Arm you and your employees with the information and resources necessary to keep impacts low during cold and flu season. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) External Site to download free images and infographics, link to microsites, watch or listen to videos and podcasts and download various toolkits.
Together, we can make the change to stop the cold and flu right in its tracks.
Questions? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Send Email.