|Flu Facts - Pass It On!
News to share with employees
The flu is in the news this season. Just when we thought we knew how to battle seasonal influenza (got your shot yet?), its ugly cousin H1N1 arrives on the scene to send us all scampering for face masks and Lysol. For most people, living in a bubble is not an option. So what's a body to do? Armed with some basic knowledge and precautions, we can protect ourselves and others from the flu this year.
Seasonal vs. H1N1 Flu
Seasonal influenza is the annual flu bug that comes around every winter in the United States. Influenza viruses are always changing; therefore, influenza vaccines are updated every year, and an annual shot is recommended for most people. Seasonal flu vaccine is currently available.
Novel H1N1 ("swine") flu is a new and different flu virus that began spreading worldwide last spring. It is expected to affect the U.S. population this fall and winter. Symptoms are similar to those of the seasonal flu. A vaccine to the H1N1 virus has been developed and is undergoing trials. It is expected to be available on a limited basis in mid-October with additional doses becoming available over the next several weeks.
To be protected against both types of influenza this season, you must receive two vaccines: the seasonal influenza vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine. They are separate vaccines. One does not protect against the other.
Common flu-like symptoms include:
- Fever (usually high)
- Extreme tiredness
- Dry cough
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Sometimes vomiting or diarrhea
Follow these steps to resist the flu bug, or to prevent spreading it to others.
- Get vaccinated.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. When soap and water aren't available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people, especially those with a fever.
- If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, do not go to work, school or other public places. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible in order to keep from making them sick.
I can get the flu from the flu shot.Fact:
No, you can't. Influenza vaccine delivers a dead version of the virus, which, although uncommon, can produce mild side effects in some people (fever, cough, aches, sore eyes) lasting one or two days. The flu shot will not trigger a full-blown bout of influenza.
Myth: If I get the flu shot too early in the season, its protective effects will wear off before the flu epidemic reaches its peak.
Fact: Protection develops up to two weeks after getting the shot and lasts for up to a year. The sooner you get your flu shot this fall, the sooner your body will build immunities lasting throughout this year's flu season.
I'm generally healthy. I don't need a flu shot.Fact:
Anyone can get the flu. Young, old, healthy, weak - the influenza virus can attack bodies of all shapes, sizes and conditions. It is wise for most people to protect themselves and others by getting an annual flu shot. For information on who is at greatest risk for complications from the flu, or who should talk with their doctor before getting the flu shot, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site at www.flu.gov
Myth: The flu is just a bad cold. If I get it, no harm done.
Fact: While the majority of people who contract the influenza virus do recover just fine, there are serious risks associated with the flu, particularly for infants, the elderly and people with certain health conditions. Flu can cause high fever and pneumonia, and make existing medical conditions worse. On average, 226,000 people are hospitalized every year because of seasonal influenza and 36,000 die - mostly elderly. Add the new H1N1 flu to the mix, and those numbers could increase. Influenza vaccine can prevent influenza and its rare but devastating consequences.
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|Tobacco-Free Workplace Solutions|
Want a tobacco-free workplace? You know the benefits. Tobacco-free means better health (for employees and customers), which means greater productivity and cost savings. But the cultural shift required to go from tobacco-tolerant to tobacco-free can be intimidating. Maybe you're not sure where to start. Or worse, you've tried before and fell short of the goal.
Great news - help is on the way! Introducing Tobacco-Free Workplace Solutions, a new program designed to free your workplace of tobacco for good. Whether you're considering implementing a tobacco-free workplace or want to enhance your current efforts, this program is a must for you.
What's novel about this program?
It involves everyone - not just the tobacco user. All employees and their families get on board to transform your organization's culture. And it won't require ongoing meetings or time away from the job. This motivational and educational campaign offers three separate modules and can be done on-site or electronically.
Module 1: The Benefits of a Tobacco-Free Environment
A module for everyone! Our goal is to increase awareness of the impact of secondhand-smoke and how "Smoke Free Helps You and Me" in the workplace, home and community. We provide posters, flyers, table tents and interactive displays to demonstrate the effects of secondhand smoke.
Module 2: Supporting Tobacco Cessation
Quitting tobacco is not easy. Resources and support are essential for success. This module educates employees and their families on the benefits and challenges of quitting tobacco. In addition to providing promotional materials, and we'll help marshal testimonials from former tobacco users in your own organization to help engage your employees and champion the cause.
Module 3: Tobacco and Youth
Away from work, almost all employees have children in their lives. And while at work, almost all employees worry about these children. Our focus is to increase awareness and help employees counteract advertising and peer pressure, which draws kids to tobacco. We'll also provide helpful counsel on how to talk with children about staying away from tobacco.
In just three months, you can create a lasting cultural change around tobacco use in your workplace. For more information on this innovative and cost-effective program, call Affinity Occupational Health at (920) 628-1531.
|What's Happening in Health Care? |
In your neighborhood and around the globe, here's what happening in health care this fall.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Affinity is making it easier than ever for busy working women to get their mammograms. Introducing Walk-in Wednesdays at the St. Elizabeth Hospital Breast Center in Appleton. No appointment needed; just walk in from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays (all year round!) and the skilled staff will be ready to welcome you.
Depression Awareness Month
Question: What's the leading cause of employee absenteeism in America?
Depression is a serious disease with serious consequences - to individuals, families and workplaces. Did you know employers are hit with tens of billions of dollars every year in depression-related expenses? This October, take tabs on your company's programs related to mental wellness. Offering an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) - and encouraging employees to use it - can go a long way toward boosting productivity, improving employee trust and morale, and protecting your bottom line.
For more information on establishing or promoting an EAP, call the Occupational Health Sales department at (920) 727-8700.
Great American Smokeout
On November 19, join others around the country to "kick butts" for a healthier America. The Great American Smokeout is an annual observance sponsored by the American Cancer Society, designed to raise awareness of nicotine's dangers and the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle. With the support of others, nicotine addicts are encouraged to quit for the day, and ultimately for good.
Read more about how to establish a healthier work environment with our new program, Tobacco-Free Workplace Solutions. (Read all about it above!)
|Walk-in Injury Care in Oshkosh|
Injuries are never convenient. But your injury care can be. Affinity Occupational Health is now providing walk-in injury care at our Oshkosh clinic. No appointment needed - just show up between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. and our occupational health experts will be on call to tend to your (non life- or limb-threatening) work-related injury.Affinity Occupational Health
1855 S. Koeller Street, Oshkosh
Walk-in care available Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It's injury care on your schedule.
|Family Safety Alert: Social Media|
Got kids in your life? If so, they're probably on the Internet. Do you really
know what they're seeing there? Whether you're a parent, grandparent, teacher, childcare provider or other concerned adult, this seminar is for you.Social Media Safety:
What Parents Need to Know
Presented by Affinity Health System
Monday, Oct. 12
6:30 to 8 p.m.
Fox Cities PAC
While the Internet offers endless information and puts educational resources at the fingertips of today's youth, it's also a dangerous place. Please join Affinity Health System in welcoming Special Agent Eric Szatkowski as he presents "The Dark Side of the Internet (and cell phones, too!)" to give parents, teachers and other adults real-life examples and practical advice about how to protect the well-being of children.
Topics covered include:
- Techniques used by predators
- What children are most vulnerable to
- Filters and monitoring software
- Social networking sites (Facebook and Twitter)
- Cell phones
- Online gaming
- Chat rooms and more...
This FREE presentation is for adults only and will conclude with a Q&A session. To register, call Affinity NurseDirect at 1-800-362-9900 or visit www.affinityhealth.org/socialmediasafety.
Ask the Expert
Dr. Brian Harrison, Affinity Occupational Health
How can I achieve cultural change toward wellness in my workplace?
Achieve a culture of wellness the same way you've achieved a culture of safety. Many of you have already accomplished that in your workplace. Employees understand a culture of safety, which they see all around them at work. They know it comes from the top down, which is reflected by values in the workplace ("Safety first!") and for which there are many visible artifacts (personal protective equipment, emergency stop buttons on machines, eye wash stations, etc).
Like safety, a culture of wellness is reflected in visual artifacts. Posters, healthy food choices in vending machines, a visibly smoke-free workplace, and stairwells that are decorated in a way to be inviting and welcoming are all visual examples of a culture of wellness.
Have a question for our experts? Click here.
Workplace Wellness Tip
Hand Washing 101
Keep the flu (and colds and strep) at bay. Wash your hands! Frequent and proper hand washing is key to killing germs and preventing the spread of colds and flu. You might already know that, but do you really know the right way to wash your hands? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here's how:
1. Wash your hands with warm running water and soap.
2. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds (as long as it takes to sing once through the ABCs or "Happy Birthday").
3. Be sure to wash your wrists, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
4. Leave the water running while you dry your hands on a paper towel.
5. Cover your hands with the paper towel while you turn off the water. This will prevent your clean hands from touching the faucet - a potential source of germs.
When soap and water aren't available, gel sanitizers or wipes containing 60-90 percent ethyl alcohol or isopropanol are the next best thing. Keep these in your car, purse or desk. Using a dime-size amount of gel, rub your hands together, covering all surfaces of the skin and nails, until the gel is dry.
|Meet Our Staff|
As a 16-year veteran of Affinity Occupational Health, Chris Magnuson
knows her stuff. Her role as MRO assistant involves reporting out all physical and drug screen results to clients, assisting the physicians with Medical Review Officer duties, and transmitting pilot physicals to the FAA. Chris is also certified to perform drug and alcohol collections, a skill that finds her conducting on-call, after-hours screens for area companies.
Chris is married with two grown children and two wonderful teenage grandsons. As a devoted grandma, her recreational time is "mostly revolved around them with sports."
Prior to joining the Occupational Health team, Chris worked for 15 years in the emergency room setting. "I attribute my 31 years of being here with Affinity to all the wonderful people I work with," she says. "We have a great staff with all team players. They all give 100 percent to our patients and our companies, and our physicians are all top notch. I am proud to say that I work for Affinity Occupational Health Services."
|Occ Doc in a Box|
Want more helpful insight from Dr. Harrison? Check out his blog, "Occ Doc in a Box," which focuses on topics relevant to the health and safety of your workforce. Click here
to follow it today.
|Read Back Issues|
Did you miss the last issue of Health e-News? Not to worry! All back issues are archived and available online. Click here
|Upcoming Breakfast with the Experts|
Nov. 4, 2009
7:30 - 9:30 a.m.
Bridgewood Resort and Conference Center
1000 Cameron Way
Neenah, WI Balancing Support and Accountability: Four Key Communication Skills for Managers and HR Professionals
Presented by Affinity Occupational Health EAP department