Let’s get to it: Flu season is right around the corner, and last year brought one of the worst flu outbreaks on record since the 2003–2004 flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 80,000 people died from the flu during the 2017-2018 season External Site, which is the most in at least four decades.
While employees across the nation were turning on their out-of-office notifications with “to-be-determined” return dates, millions of small and large businesses paid the price for the loss of workplace productivity.
Is your organization — and are your employees — prepared for the 2018-2019 flu season?
- Employers impacted: 18 million nationwide
- Money lost: $9.42 billion External Site
- Wages lost: $855.68 over one employee missing four eight-hour workdays
Sources: ChallengerGray.com, MarketWatch.com, CBSNews.com
The key to every successful business starts with happy and healthy employees. Don't play the game of chance with your employee’s health or your business could pay the price.
Arm your employees with these five keys to being flu-free from the CDC:
- Flu shot or FluMist — encourage it! The CDC recommends your employees should get their flu shots by the end of October before peak season begins in November. There are a couple options to choose from this year — the original shot, or FluMist. Note: The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is adding FluMist® back to the lineup of recommended flu vaccines for the 2018-2019 influenza seasons as an option to help boost vaccination rates. FluMist will be covered by Wellmark and the copay/coinsurance will be dependent upon member benefits.
- Hand-washing is important. Provide hand-wipes, soap and warm water, as well as hand sanitizing stations around your office.
- Get to disinfecting. Make sprays, wipes, or additional disinfectants available to your employees and encourage them to wipe down surfaces after a day of work.
- Cough and sneeze the right way. Provide tissues for employees to sneeze or cough in throughout the worksite, but if not available, suggest the crook of their elbow.
- Encourage employees to stay home. Even if an employee begins to feel the slightest bit queasy — encourage them to go home. And, if a fever is present, make sure they stay home until they are fever-free for 24 hours.
Short on time and resources? We’ve got you covered.
As a current Wellmark administrator, you can search “Be a flu fighter” on the Wellmark Marketing Toolkit Secure Site for a handy flyer you can have at your worksite, or check out articles on Saying No to Germs Opens in new window and Be Flu Free Opens in new window from BlueSM.
For more free infographics to post around your worksite, visit the CDC Resource Center External Site.