The United States Department Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration have published information to encourage workers and employers to take action in reducing the spread of flu within the workplace. Their recommendations describe the necessary precautions for all workplaces.
Basic hygiene precautions recommended are as follows:
- Vaccination. The season flu vaccine for 2011 through 2012 will provide adequate protection against the most common influenza viruses during this season. Of these are influenza A H1N1, influenza A H3N2, and influenza B. Please refer to Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine for more information for preventing the spread of the flu.
- Sanitization. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for twenty seconds. Use alcohol-based hand-rub products if there is no available soap and water. Clean your hands after couging, sneezing, and blowing your nose. Also, clean frequently touched common surfaces such as telephones and computers often.
- Quarantine. If you are experiencing illness stay at home, as not to infect others. The HHS/CSC encourage workers with fevers, and respiratory symptoms to stay home until 24 hours after the fever has ended. Note that not everyone experiences fevers during infection; other symptoms include runny nose, body aches, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting.
- Avoidance. Make an effort to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoid close physical contact or shaking hands with others who may be ill. Cover your sneezes and coughs with a tissue.
While these precautions create a baseline during an influenza season outbreak, partaking in these suggestions may not full prevent you in the event of a pandemic. Other issues for consideration for individuals and families can be found at flu.gov.
These efforts are intended for protecting individuals in the event of a pandemic influenza. A pandemic may be characterized by the HHS/CDC as mild, moderate or severe with the most recent occurring in 2009. This event caused challenges within many different workplaces due to unprepared staff.
ASU offers waterless hand cleaner dispensers just inside the entrances to many of the large public buildings on campus. Also, leading up to the flu season each year, ASU offers flu shots to employees as a part of ASU’s Health and Wellness program.