Looking Out for Your Business During Flu Season

Hostway Marketing, October 29, 2009 POSTED IN:No Category TAGGED:

By Winmark Business Solutions

Your business may have already been impacted by the spring and summer outbreaks of 2009 H1N1 influenza. The CDC anticipates more communities may be affected and/or more severely affected this fall and winter than were in the spring and summer of 2009. The health of employees during an outbreak such as H1N1 influenza plays a critical role in the continued operations of your business. It is vital you keep yourself and your employees healthy in order to maintain business operations.

The best ways to do this are through education, proper personal hygiene and appropriate medical care. There are several things that can be done to protect yourself and your employees, and to prevent the flu from spreading.

Wash:

Wash your hands frequently, and always after coughing or sneezing. The correct way to wash hands is to use warm water and soap liberally, rubbing the front and back of hands, wrists and between your fingers for at lest 20 to 30 seconds (long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice). After rinsing and drying your hands, use the paper towel to turn off the water and to open the door when leaving to avoid contaminating your hands again. In between washings or in the event soap and water is unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Prevent:

Get vaccinated for the seasonal flu. If you are at a higher risk for flu complications, you should also get vaccinated for the 2009 H1N1 flu. Vaccination is the best protection against contracting the flu. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue or your arm. Do not touch your mouth, nose or eyes. Avoid close contact with those who are ill, and if possible, stay away from crowded places and large gatherings.
Provide hand sanitizer and post flu prevention reminders for your employees. When cleaning your place of business, pay particular attention to common areas and keep frequently touched surfaces, like telephones, keyboards and doorknobs clean.

Get Well:

If you are coughing or sneezing or have flu-like symptoms, stay home and limit contact with others. Get plenty of rest, and drink clear fluids. Stay home at least 24 hours after you are free of fever without medication.

Stay Informed:

Monitor recommendations from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and media coverage about flu cases. Check information sources frequently, both local news and government Web sites, in order to stay current and best protect your employees and your business. You can keep track of updates and valuable prevention tips at www.flu.gov, the U.S. government’s site.

If you become sick, in order to ensure proper medical care for your illness, it is important to know the differences between common cold and H1N1 flu symptoms. Below are some guidelines to help you:

Symptom

Cold

H1N1 Flu

Fever

Fever is rare.

Fever is present in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu.

Coughing

A hacking, productive (mucus-producing) cough is often present.

A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present (sometimes referred to as dry cough).

Aches

Body aches and pains are slight.

Severe aches and pains are common.

Stuffy Nose

Stuffy nose is commonly present.

Stuffy nose is not commonly present.

Chills

Chills are uncommon.

60% of people who have the flu experience chills.

Tiredness

Tiredness is fairly mild.

Tiredness is moderate to severe.

Sneezing

Sneezing is commonly present.

Sneezing is not common.

Headache

A headache is fairly uncommon.

A headache is very common, present in 80% of flu cases.

Sore Throat

Sore throat is commonly present with a cold.

Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu.

Chest  Discomfort

Chest discomfort is mild to moderate.

Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.



Additionally, be familiar the following emergency warning signs. Seek urgent medical attention should you have these symptoms.

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Following the precautions and guidelines in this article will help ensure your health, the health of your employees and ultimately the successful operation of your business. Also crucial to protecting your health and that of your employees is having sufficient healthcare coverage.

The BST Insurance Program gives you access to affordable individual health insurance. The program makes competitive health insurance options available to full-time and part-time employees. If you are interested in making an employer-sponsored group plan available to your employees, please contact their health insurance agents who will work with you to develop a customized plan best suited for your business.

Visitwww.locktonrisk.com/BST/Benefits to learn more and receive quotes for coverage specific to your needs. If you’d like to speak with a health insurance agent, please call 1-866-535-6480.

* Sources: www.cdc.gov, www.flu.gov

About the Author

Winmark Business Solutions (WBS) is a free Web site for small businesses and entrepreneurs containing over 6,000 pages of business-critical information and downloadable tools at www.WBSonline.com. WBS is a division of Winmark Corporation, a multi-brand franchisor with nearly 900 franchise locations in North America. With over 25 years working with small businesses, WBS draws upon years of experience to bring important small business articles, information, tools, forms, checklists, calculators and downloadable forms to the small business owner to help their business grow. WBS contains over 6000 pages of business-critical information all available at www.WBSonline.com.