Seasonal flu affects 5-20% of the population annually and may account for 10-12% of employee sick days each year, either for themselves or for ill family members. The CDC suggests the flu typically lasts between a few days to two weeks, but some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu that may lengthen the illness. Although rare, in some cases the flu can be life-threatening.
The flu is the most commonly occurring vaccine-preventable disease, and annual vaccination has shown to be the most effective method for preventing and limiting the illness. Therefore, CDC guidelines recommend any person older than 6 months get vaccinated to reduce his or her risk of getting the flu or spreading the illness to others. Employee vaccination programs have also shown to be cost-effective.
The CDC recommends employers offer influenza vaccination opportunities at their workplace or consider allowing time during the workday to get vaccinated off-site. OSHA also recommends employers prioritize vaccinations and views vaccination as a long-term and effective intervention. In addition to promoting vaccination, OSHA recommends encouraging sick workers to stay home to prevent a workplace outbreak, promoting hand hygiene and cough etiquette, keeping the workplace clean.
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