Get Ready for Flu and Cold Season
As cold and flu season approach us and employees voice concerns, the Emory WorkLife Resource Center has compiled information and resources to help departments, as well as faculty and staff, manage the flu season in a way that best supports our community. This information emphasizes the importance of accommodating the needs of those that are sick, as well as their caretakers, while minimizing workplace disruptions and maintaining optimum productivity. Your cooperation with the suggestions outlined below will help our community get through this flu season.
Colds, Flu’s and Other Ailments of Concern this Season
Get vaccinated against the flu today! Influenza, commonly called the "flu," is a contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. If you get the flu, you are contagious. The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of six months get the flu vaccine (unless you have a medical reason not to) to help prevent illness. It can take up to two weeks after getting vaccinated to get the full protection of the vaccine. So do it for yourself, your family and your co-workers.
Business Continuity Using Workplace Flexibility
If you have cold or flu symptoms (a fever of 100.4 F or greater, plus a cough or sore throat, and possibly other symptoms like chills, body aches, or vomiting), follow your department protocol in notifying your supervisor that you are sick and need to stay home. It is best not to return to the workplace until you are no longer contagious, generally after a fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine. The same is true if you are parent – please keep your child home from school or day care when they are ill. Inform your supervisor of the situation and stay home. Sick Leave allows you to be paid while you are off from work in both of these circumstances.
Should you be well enough to work, but still exhibiting flu-like symptoms (as described above), consider asking your supervisor if you can work from home until you (or your child) are no longer contagious. While not all jobs are suitable for telecommuting, it is a viable option for many of our faculty and staff and can be utilized as a way to maintain business continuity during cold and flu season, preventing spread of illness throughout the campus or in the community where our children attend school.
Managers are strongly encouraged to support employee requests to work from home during flu season. This is key when an employee’s job is suitable for them to do so and they are able to work, but are still contagious. Managers should also be supportive of faculty and staff who have children that are ill and request to work from home while they are sick and contagious.
In order to demonstrate a culture where employees feel safe to stay home and care for their health, or work from home while recuperating from illness, managers should role model this behavior themselves. Managers should encourage visibly ill employees to leave work to prevent the spread of cold and flu.
It will take teamwork to combat cold and flu season this year. If we work together, we can prevent unnecessary illness from spreading this season, maintain business continuity and productivity levels, and hopefully enjoy a healthy holiday season.
Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
Clean your hands often.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touch surfaces at home, work, or school. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Emory’s Flu Vaccinations 2016
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Seasonal Influenza
The Flu: A Guide for Parents
Cover your Cough
Emory WorkLife Resource Center
WebMD – Cold versus Flu
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Enterovirus D68
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Ebola Virus Update