Flu ‘pre-season' means time to get ready

Get your tissues ready.

This year’s flu season lurks right around the corner. Everyone knows it’s coming, yet, not enough people prepare for what this year’s season may have in store.

Each year, starting in mid-Fall, the flu affects anywhere between 5 percent and 20 percent of the U.S. population, according to CDC.gov. Nearly 200,000 people get admitted to the hospital for flu treatment and approximately 36,000 die as a result of the virus.

 

 

The flu not only causes disruption in the home, but also in the workplace. The National Institutes of Health estimates the annual economic burden for the flu at $87 billion due to hospitalizations, outpatient visits and millions of lost days of work.

So, what are you doing to get yourself and your employees ready for the upcoming flu season? Read on for five things to know:

  • Vaccine is still the best prevention. If the idea of being out of commission and sick as a dog doesn’t appeal to you, then get vaccinated. At the very least, the vaccine can minimize the effects of the flu. Available as a shot or a nasal mist, vaccination side effects are typically minor. But the vaccine only lasts one season, thanks to the flu virus mutating itself every year, so be sure to get re-vaccinated. Doctor’s recommended flu vaccines for anyone over the age of six months, Talk to your doctor to find out if you’re one of those people who can’t get the vaccine.
  • It’s seasonal: Flu season usually peaks in January and February, but can show up in early October and last until May. Remember, if you’re traveling, that flu seasons differ from place to place.
  • Prep your business. Make sure your employees know if their health insurance covers the flu vaccine. Share information to stop the spread of germs, like coughing into your sleeve and wiping down hard surfaces with bleach wipes.
  • It makes you feel pretty miserable. Fever, chills, fatigue, aches, cough and a runny/stuffy nose are all part of having the flu. The flu makes you feel miserable for one to two weeks. It can cause ear and sinus infection, bacterial pneumonia and make chronic diseases worse.
  • It’s really contagious. You get the flu when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes or talks and droplets containing their germs land in your mouth or nose.  You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.