The CDC estimates that between five and 20 percent of people in the U.S. come down with the flu each year. The virus can be serious, too. Its complications send more than 200,000 people to the hospital during the average flu season.
Professionals who have close contact with a lot of people are at increased risk of getting the flu. Examples include health care workers, teachers, and other people who provide a service. Share these tips with your colleagues, clients, employees, or peers to help maintain a flu-free workplace.
1. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
The flu only makes you sick when it’s inside your body. And these openings on your face are the entrance it often uses. Which brings us to:
2. Perfect your hand-washing skills.
Sometimes you have to care for a sick loved one, or scratch an itch on your nose. You can’t really control those things. But this flu safeguard is literally all in your hands. The key is to wash them often and thoroughly. If your hands get dry from soaps or cold weather, use moisturizer. That’s important; you don’t want the skin on your hands to crack.
3. Keep yourself (and your immune system) in good shape.
What this means: Eat a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins. Get enough sleep. You will not only help your body stay in top form to fight off the flu, you’ll feel better all around.
4. Get a flu shot.
The best way to reduce the impact of the flu, year after year, is for as many people to get immunized as possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get the flu shot every year. New flu vaccines are released each year to keep up with rapidly changing viruses. That’s why it is important to get vaccinated every flu season.
When you encourage your colleagues to get vaccinated and prevent the spread of the virus, you are helping protect your workplace and the people in your community.
Bonus: UPMC Health Plan has made this year’s flu shot reimbursement form available to members to complete on MyHealth OnLine, our secure member website. Members can also complete a form and mail it to the address in the form’s instructions. The form will facilitate payment for members who receive a flu shot at a community flu clinic or at any nonparticipating provider or retail location. Completing the form online can speed up flu shot reimbursement processing.
This information is not meant to serve as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about getting the flu shot, make sure you speak with your doctor. Or call our 24/7 advice line at 1-866-918-1591.
Employer Update 8/31/16