It comes out of nowhere and silently overtakes your body. One day you’re perfectly fine. The next, you’re achy all over and your head is killing you. It’s the annual ick, or influenza in doctor-speak.
‘Tis the season to be sneezing, and if you’ve noticed a spike in office absences, it could be because the flu is making its way around the office. According to the CDC, it’s not possible to predict what a flu season will be like, but they estimate that 5% to 20% of the U.S. population get the flu each year, which results in over 200,000 hospitalizations.
And catching the flu isn’t just hard on you — it’s bad for business! Over $10 billion is shelled out annually by companies for staff hospitalizations and outpatient visits due to illness. That’s not including the $87 billion in annual burden on the economy due to the flu.
But it’s not all bad news! Research shows you can prevent this bad kind of sharing by taking some simple precautions.
1. Get your flu shot. With up to 56% of companies offering flu-shot clinics for employees and most major pharmacies offering discounted vaccinations, you have plenty of opportunities for preventative measures. Research even shows that the single best way to protect yourself is to get the vaccine each season.
2. Wash your hands (and devices). Here’s a sobering statistic: 39% of people don’t wash their hands after sneezing, coughing or blowing their noses. That means your chances of touching a contaminated area are high. Since cold and flu viruses can live up to 24 hours on hard surfaces (like desks, counters or your computer), you should give your space, your electronic devices and your hands a sanitizing bath at least once a day.
3. Go home and stay there! Flu viruses spread mainly by air-borne droplets made when people with the illness cough, sneeze or talk. And studies show that adults could be contagious a day before they experience symptoms and 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. So that means you’re a walking Petri dish, and you should avoid contact with others. Thankfully, a variety of free and premium solutions now offer many professionals the option to work from anywhere.
4. Discover the ROI of relaxing. Have you ever worked through a cold only to find you’ve pushed yourself just a tad too far? You’re not alone! Over 30% of people report feeling pressured to go into work when sick, which of course helps transmit the virus and wears you out. Instead of stretching yourself too thin, take the time you need to recover while keeping everyone else flu-free. You’ll find you’re more productive if you let a little R & R support your company’s ROI.
Bottom line, these simple tips will help you share great ideas without spreading the flu this season.
*This post originally ran on the ShareFile Blog.
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