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Swine Flu and You

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Even if you’re not one to panic easily, it’s a bit difficult not to have some concern about the outbreak of swine flu. It’s not yet an epidemic, not a pandemic — but troublesome. If you have close contact with fellow employees, there’s no reason to panic. Just be alert.

1. Don’t panic. The last thing we need is our hospitals and emergency rooms and doctors offices to be flooded with people who have no reason to be alarmed but just want to be sure they don’t have anything.

2. If you’ve recently traveled to Mexico or had close contact with someone who has, be keenly aware of any flu-like symptoms you might develop.

3. If you have flu-like symptoms, don’t go to work. If an employee has swine flu and coughs near a co-worker, the disease can be passed along quickly, because it spreads through microscopic respiratory droplets that travel through the air — even by touching the droplets that have landed on a surface.

4. Coughing doesn’t necessarily mean you have swine flu, but coughing is the most likely way to spread the virus.

5. If you have flu-like symptoms, call your doctor to see if you need to come in for a checkup.

6. Be proactive at work. If someone seems sick or is displaying symptoms of swine flu, strongly suggest that she go home and call her doctor. If the situation seems extreme, you may need to require that the employee leave the workplace, and you may need to take the employee to the doctor.

7. Communicate with your employees to let them know what steps you’re taking, what steps they should be taking, and what’s the latest information about the swine flu in your immediate geographic area.

8. Don’t distribute masks at work. It’s not clear that they help prevent people from getting sick, and you will cause panic.

9. Put the health needs of your employees ahead of the economic needs of the business, even in this time of economic crisis.

10. For more information, check the Centers for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov; World Health Organization, www.who.org; and Department of Homeland Security, www.dhs.gov.

  1. I ‘caught’ A Victoria Flu back in the 70′s during that Swine Flu scare. I was very ill and missed a month of school (3rd grade). That being said, these virulent strains are nothing to sneeze at – but the public panic being caused by this is what is really troubling me.

    I am in charge of supplies here as well as part of our pandemic response team. There are no respirator masks to be found anywhere in Memphis.

  2. John Phillips says:

    You’re point is significant and will hopefully be heeded. Thanks for weighing in.

  3. ACU Frank says:

    I was in the ER Monday night (my wife was bitten by a copperhead, and was just released a few minutes ago… long story). Anyway… The other patient in there was convinced he had swine flu. ER doc told me he had examined over a dozen people (all negative), and his shift was only a few hours old. Precious resources being wasted on hysteria.

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