Flu awareness can save days off – and money

PREVENTIVE JAB: Having a flu shot can save workers from illness and businesses from lost income.
PREVENTIVE JAB: Having a flu shot can save workers from illness and businesses from lost income. Warren Lynam

STAFF sick days can be costly in more ways than one.

The 2011 Direct Health Solutions Absenteeism Survey found organisations lose an average of $385 per day per employee in lost productivity when a staff member is away sick.

The survey also found 90% of Australians have gone to work with flu symptoms such as feeling cold, having a cough, muscle aches and fever.

During the flu season (May to September) employees can be sick for more than a week, having enormous ramifications for businesses.

The Influenza Specialist Group has urged Australian businesses to promote flu awareness to their employees and consider offering flu vaccinations to staff members, which could save an organisation substantially in lost productivity.

The group said vaccination during March or April was wise, before any outbreaks.

According to the group, influenza can easily spread throughout the workplace.

Employees with the flu may not be aware they are infecting others around them as people can be contagious one day before getting significant symptoms (and up to five days after becoming ill).

A person doesn't have to be near someone infected by the flu to be at risk.

Airborne particles can land on a hard surface where the flu virus can survive for several hours, which means people can pick up contaminated secretions even without someone coughing or sneezing near them.

Touching contaminated surfaces (including hands) and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes can lead to infection.

Influenza causes more than 18,000 hospitalisations each year.

FLU ETIQUETTE

Minimise the spread of influenza through good general and personal hygiene, avoiding close contact with others (at least one metre apart) and covering your mouth and nose (with the inside of your elbow) when coughing or sneezing.

http://www.flusmart.org.au

DID YOU KNOW? Medimobile is a Sunshine Coast-based business that offers workplace flu vaccinations Australia-wide, as well as a FluApp.

Topics:  direct health solutions absenteeism survey, flu, flu shot, illness, productivity



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