Flu at Work: What to do
James, January 24, 2013
Are you the employee that gets sent home rather than calling in sick? Just soldiering on spreading your germs around?! When we catch the flu it is often tempting to, despite feeling terrible, brush it off and carry on with our jobs.
But by doing this you are not only compromising your own health, but also the health of your fellow employees and employers.
Don’t be so selfish! Furthermore, don’t haul yourself to work then complain constantly all day about how dreadfully ill you are...
The flu is contagious, it can affect people of any age and any level of fitness or health, and is therefore one of the main reasons for short-term absences in UK workplaces. When working in office environments in which many people work together, the flu is very easy to spread from one person to another. Particularly in the winter months when the office air con is set to sauna levels...
Common symptoms of the flu include: Runny nose, fever of 38°C , sore throat, headache, muscle or body aches and fatigue. After two to three days you should be over the worst of the symptoms and there will be light at the end of the tunnel! It is recommended to drink liquids, rest, and use medication if needed.
The flu can be easily dealt with by having a good sleep and a dose of honey and lemon, and perhaps some paracetamol. However, if symptoms persist a trip to the GP could be in order.
See the precautions below to help prevent catching the flu when it strikes:
How to help prevent the flu
- Catch it, Bin it, Kill it!
- Wash your hands often to keep germs away, and bring hand sanitizer with you just in case there is no soap nearby.
- Try not to touch your face as your hands can carry many germs and this makes it easy for infections to get into your body.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise in order to boost your immune system. More of a lifestyle tip than a reaction to the flu!
If you do fall ill, stay home for 24 hours after your fever has gone.
Lastly, the most effective way to prevent catching the flu is to be vaccinated. The NHS offers vaccinations which differ each year in order to keep up with the virus. See the NHS website for more information and if you are able to arrange the shot.
What to do if you have the flu
If you are at work and feel that you may have symptoms of the flu, it is best to tell your manager or whoever is in charge that you are not feeling well. Explain to them that you think it is the flu, and they should understand. It is very unlikely that your boss would want anyone spreading contagious illnesses around! On the other hand, if you are at home and feeling unwell, call in to work before your shift starts and explain the situation.
You may need a doctors note if you require a certain amount of days off of work, so it is best to check your workplace guidelines for illness.