Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Feds Issue Swine Flu Guidelines


Frequent hand washing a top recommendation

The federal government has just issued guidelines for businesses to plan for and respond to the upcoming flu season.

The guidance, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is designed to help employers prepare now for the impact of seasonal and 2009 H1N1 influenza could have this fall and winter on their employees and operations.

Employers’ plans should address such points as encouraging employees with flu-like symptoms or illness to stay home, operating with reduced staffing, and possibly having employees who are at higher risk of serious medical complications from infection work from home, according to the CDC guidance.

It is not known whether the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus will cause more illness or more severe illness in the coming months, but the CDC recommends that everyone be prepared for influenza. Because seasonal and 2009 H1N1 influenza pose serious health threats, the CDC says employers should work with employees to develop and implement plans that can reduce the spread of flu, and to encourage seasonal flu vaccination as well as H1N1 vaccination when that vaccine becomes available.

Among the top preventative suggestion: regular and frequent hand washing and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.

The CDC says businesses should review sick leave policies and ensure employees understand them, according to the guidance. Employers should try to make sick leave policies flexible for workers who may have to stay home with ill family members or if a child’s school is closed, the CDC says.

Employers should consider offering vaccine against seasonal flu, and encourage employees to be vaccinated against seasonal and H1N1 flu, the guidance says.

Employers also might cancel non-essential face-to-face meetings and travel, and space employees farther apart, the report says. And employees who are at higher risk for flu complications might be allowed to work from home or stay home if the flu is severe, it says.

My suggestion: use Paltalk to conduct meetings!

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mstinas/3195481964/

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