Have you started to hear those dreaded sounds around the office? A cough here, a sneeze there, and maybe a few sniffles? Flu season is around the corner, and employees who catch the flu can expect to need several days even up to two weeks – to recover. What’s worse is that they may unknowingly spread it to their coworkers at the same time. Here are five important facts to help you prepare for the upcoming flu season.
- How does the flu spread? Experts believe the flu virus spreads via tiny droplets in the air when a sick person coughs, sneezes or talks. These airborne droplets can spread up to six feet away. The flu can also spread if someone touches a surface that has flu virus on it, and then touches their own eyes, nose or mouth. A person who has the flu can spread it 1 day before symptoms appear up to 5 days after becoming sick.
- What are some symptoms of the flu? People who have the flu may experience some or all of these symptoms: cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, body aches, fatigue, and fever or chills. Some people may also suffer from complications of the flu such as ear and sinus infections or respiratory infections.
- How can you prevent the flu? The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination every year. You should also stay away from people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick. Basic prevention like covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough, along with washing your hands with soap and water after touching shared surfaces, can also help slow the spread of flu germs.
- Can you get the flu from having a flu shot? You cannot get the flu from having a flu shot because the two types of available flu shot vaccines contain either inactivated flu virus or no flu virus at all. However, some people may experience mild side effects such as redness, tenderness or swelling at the flu injection site, slight fever, and headache or muscle aches. These reactions typically last a short time and are much less severe than flu symptoms.
- Is the flu shot covered by insurance? Flu shots are a type of immunization and are covered by ACA-compliant insurance plans. Check with your insurer to see if you must use certain in-network doctor’s offices or health facilities to obtain your free flu shot. Many pharmacies and minute-clinics offer flu shots, but these may not be covered if they are considered out-of-network by your insurer. Offices and work places are increasingly offering free flu shots to their employees as part of their wellness programs, providing an easy and convenient health benefit.
Don’t let this year’s flu season drag down your office. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you design the best flu prevention strategy for your needs.