Fight the flu! Get vaccinated and follow these tips
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu has reached epidemic proportions across the U.S., including in California. This year’s flu is a more dangerous strain than usual, even for healthy people under the age of 65. But you can reduce your chance of becoming ill by following the tips below.
It’s not too late to get vaccinated, as the flu will circulate for at least several more weeks. Flu shots are available at your health care provider’s offices and other convenient locations such as pharmacies. While not completely protective, this year’s vaccine will reduce your likelihood of contracting the flu. And if you do become ill, the symptoms you experience will be less severe if you’ve had this year’s shot.
Don’t come to work if you’re ill
Protect your own health as well as that of your coworkers by not coming to work if you feel ill, including if you have congestion, body aches or a fever (even a mild one). The flu is highly contagious and even people who don’t have symptoms yet may spread it. According to the CDC, symptoms begin one to four days after the flu virus enters the body; and healthy adults can infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven days after becoming sick.
Notify your supervisor if you need to take sick leave or wish to work from home. You will recover faster if you get rest, drink fluids and take other self-care measures. You will protect your coworkers if you stay home until you are no longer contagious.
Wash your hands
Protect yourself and others with a few simple but very effective steps:
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Don’t use hot water, which chaps your skin and creates openings for viruses and bacteria. Use plenty of soap and wash for a full 15-20 seconds. (Count or sing “Happy Birthday” to see how long this actually is!) Rinse your hands well.
- Wash your hands as soon as possible after handling items that many other people have touched (e.g., money, implements at a salad bar, etc.).
- Use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands right away. Rub it thoroughly over your hands and fingers and let it air dry. (Don’t wipe it off.)
- Cover your mouth with your arm (not your hand) when sneezing or coughing. Wash your hands after blowing your nose.
Resources at OP
All OP facilities are equipped with automatic hand sanitizer dispensers. If the dispenser in your area is broken, missing, or needs a refill, please submit an iRequest to have it serviced.
The Office of Risk Services also provides funding for tissues and surface sanitizing wipes. Please see your department safety officer about ordering supplies for your department. For more information on this program, contact EHS@ucop.edu.
For more information about the flu:
Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm
California Department of Public Health: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/ha0013.aspx