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Flu Outbreaks at Work

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 5 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Flu Outbreaks At Work

We all tend to suffer from colds and flu at some time or another and, because of pressures and commitments at work or the fact that you do not receive any pay when you’re off sick from work, many people will battle on regardless and struggle into work when the reality is that you could be inflicting more damage on the company by spreading the virus to other people causing them to go off sick too. So, whether it’s a cold or flu, if you are feeling that much under the weather, you should not try to go into work when you are suffering.

Basic Cold and Flu Hygiene at Work

Sometimes you may find that you’re actually already in work when you start to feel the initial signs of a cold or flu coming on. In this instance, make sure you cover your mouth and your nose whenever you feel the need to sneeze or cough as the viruses associated with colds and flu are mainly spread through mucus.

Germs are often spread by somebody touching something with their hands that has already become contaminated and then rubbing their eyes, mouth or nose so make sure you keep your hands clean and wash them regularly at work. You can pick up germs from computer keyboards, water coolers, telephone ear and mouth pieces and microwave door handles for example, so if you have a cold or flu coming on, keep contact with these kinds of things to a minimum and wipe them down after you’ve used them.

Should You Call in Sick?

As far as a cold or flu virus is concerned, call in sick if you are suffering from cold or flu like symptoms as you could be responsible for spreading the virus throughout the workplace if you struggle into work.

Is it a Cold or Flu?

Many people will claim that they’ve been suffering from flu when, in fact, all they have got is a common cold. Although colds can be quite nasty too, they are not as dangerous as flu and there are ways of differentiating between the two. For example, flu will usually be accompanied by a fever where your temperature can rise to between 100F and 102F and this can last for up to 3 or 4 days.

With flu, you tend to find that headaches are more prominent as are other bodily aches and pains. Whereas with a cold, you’re less likely to suffer from these symptoms and more likely to experience things like a sore throat, a stuffy nose and sneezing which are not as common to flu.

Flu Vaccines

If there is a flu outbreak at work, you may be offered a vaccine to prevent the flu from spreading further. Some of these are quite effective but they’re not guaranteed to work completely so it is still possible to contract flu symptoms even if you’ve had a flu jab although the likelihood is that your symptoms will not turn out to be quite as severe.

The best way to combat flu outbreaks at work however is to encourage and support workers into taking time off if they suspect flu symptoms. Although an employer may want to keep sickness and absenteeism down to a minimum, if you adopt a culture whereby workers feel the need to come in to work no matter how poorly they are, you are only asking for trouble as flu and cold viruses can multiply like wildfire and you’d much rather one or two people were legitimately off work sick as opposed to them crawling in off their sick bed and infecting the rest of the workforce which could have catastrophic results for you as a business if you are then severely hampered by staff shortages.

The other key component in minimising the risk from a flu outbreak is to promote good personal hygiene at work and ensure that all communal surface areas in particular are kept clean and disinfected as prevention is the key with regards to viruses at work such as those from colds and flu spreading which could even result in a flu epidemic at work if the proper prevention strategies are ignored.

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Iv what I feel early stages of possible flu could just be a cold/cough but coughing, sneezing, sore throat and blocked nose along with body aches.....I recently started new job into starting 3rd week, given I'm a chef not sure how to approach this as stated only starting my 3rd week.....all other times iv took time off but had been in the job a while.....
Kickedprince - 5-May-17 @ 10:46 AM
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