Fever? Headache? Muscle aches? Many Canadians feel these symptoms in the coming months. This illness can’t be treated with antibiotics, will usually affect people for a week or more and will cost the Canadian economy billions of dollars. Many will die. If you’ve been paying attention to recent, terrifying headlines, you may assume the illness is the Ebola virus. Instead, the above description refers to seasonal flu. That’s one reason why doctors say this year it’s especially important for your employees not to get caught up in Ebola hysteria and forget to get their flu shots.

The Impact of Flu on your organization

Organizations will lose approximately 111 million workdays annually due to the flu, equalling $7 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity. This year is different for two reasons: First is the Ebola epidemic in West Africa that spread into the United States. The second is the late summer outbreak of enterovirus D68, a respiratory illness that has sickened more than 1,100 people in 46 states since August, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The prospect of facing all three illnesses in a single season has led the CDC to start a public education campaign to help people understand the risks and to remind people to get their annual flu vaccine.

Proactive Steps For Employers To Take

Organizations can use this time of worry, confusion, and fear over the Ebola virus to educate their employees, help them identify the true risks and show them that you are invested in their well-being by hosting a flu clinic.
“The important thing is to try and quell employee fear and panic and encourage employees to get a flu shot”  advices Dr. Craig Karpilow, Workplace Medical Corp.’s Occupation Health Director.
On site flu clinics are a great choice for organizations big and small because:
  • On-site flu clinics are a convenient, quick and affordable way to get all your employees immunized at one time, in one place, without having them leave the work site or lose worker productivity.
  • On-site flu clinics ensure your employees are vaccinated and lessen the risk of spreading the virus to family and other high-risk groups.
  • On-site flu clinics ensure that your employees are protected if exposed to the virus from outside sources.
  • Many employees intend to get to the clinic and get their flu shot, but life gets in the way and they just never get around to it. Others know they should get to the clinic, but the thought of sitting in a packed waiting room is not appealing and they decide to wait until they’re not so busy – a time that never comes.
  • On-site clinics could mean fewer Ebola false alarms.
  • On-site flu clinic show your employees you are invested in their and their family’s health and well-being.
Vaccinated employees experience:
  • 13 – 44% fewer doctor visits;
  • 18 – 45% fewer lost work days;
  • 18 – 28% fewer days with reduced productivity
In addition to receiving the vaccine, public health officials urge people to practice the “3 Cs:” cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve, contain germs by staying home when sick and clean hands often to stop the spread of flu germs.

The Difference between Ebola and The Flu

Statistically, seasonal flu viruses pose a much greater public health threat than the scary and highly covered, but relatively contained, Ebola. And unlike Ebola, a vaccine is widely available to protect people from seasonal flu viruses. Many symptoms of the flu are similar to the Ebola virus. However, there are big differences, too. Influenza causes cough, sore throat and runny nose, while Ebola does not. Ebola is far different from influenza, or “flu,” virus, in that the flu virus is transmissible through airborne droplets and is much more contagious, and therefore much more worrisome than Ebola, which can only be spread through bodily fluids. In the coming months, almost none of us will catch the Ebola virus. However, unlike Ebola, flu contributes to thousands of North American deaths each year and many more hospitalizations. And unlike Ebola, there’s a vaccine to protect against the flu, recommended annually for adults, teens, and children starting at 6 months of age. Protect your employees, their families, your community and your organization by making sure your employees are vaccinated this flu season.