Pandemic Flu Basics
The swine flu (H1N1) appears to have the potential to create a significant health issue. As of 4/30/09, the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised current level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5.
For the average individual, the Centers for Disease Control recommend the following steps to help control the spread of a flu virus:
- Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
- Any other measures that would discourage the spread of an airborne virus
Also, stay informed. There are several websites that frequently update the status of pandemic flu:
What Should an Employer Do?
- Employers should review their health plans so that they are familiar with coverages available for the treatment of flu, as many questions may arise.
- Employers may also want to review their paid time off programs, including short term disability programs to make certain that they are familiar with leave availability, both for the employee’s illness, as well as to attend to the needs of family member.
- Probably the most important thing is to remain calm and diligent, rather than to panic.
The information contained in this Benefit Beat is not intended to be legal, accounting, or other professional advice, nor are these comments directed to specific situations.
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