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Flu Season Approaches…

Has your inbox been inundated with emails regarding the 2009 H1N1 Flu Pandemic?  The truth is…IT’S UPON US…..

Spread of the H1N1 virus (“Swine Flu”) is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people who are infected with influenza.  You could be infected by touching something – such as a surface or object that have flu viruses on it and then touching your mouth or nose.

The symptoms of 2009 H1N1 flu virus include fever, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.

In seasonal flu, certain people are at “high risk” of serious complications. About 70 percent of people who have been hospitalized with this 2009 H1N1 virus have had one or more medical conditions previously recognized as placing people at “high risk” of serious seasonal flu-related complications. This includes pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease.

People infected with seasonal or the 2009 H1N1 flu may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after. This can be longer in some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems and in people infected with the new H1Na1 virus.

So how does an organization address what could be the “Perfect Storm” as it relates to flu season?  A suggestion is to take a two-phased approach:

Phase 1 is all about Flu Prevention – Provide your employees and managers with practical tools to help prevent the transmission of the flu (seasonal and H1N1).

Phase II is all about a Business Continuity Plan – This assumes a severe flu outbreak whereby business continuity is threatened in certain markets or regions.  This phase requires that you give careful thought to how you would continue to operate under a severe labour shortage.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO STAY HEALTHY?

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  • Stay informed. Keep informed by visiting websites, such as www.Fightflu.ca, as important information becomes available
  • Take everyday actions to stay healthy. As influenza is transmitted person to person, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or use your upper sleeve and not your hands.  Throw tissues in the trash after you have used them.  Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.  Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective
  • Stay at home if you get sick. Limit your contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures. [/listdot]

Here is another recent post with a great list of 8 Steps for HR to Create a Plan B.

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