Employers

Keep your people flu-free and out of hospital this winter.

It’s been a terrible flu season in the Northern Hemisphere, which is a possible predictor for what we may see here.
Influenza-like illnesses are worse than just bad colds – they account for 45 percent of sick days for unvaccinated people each winter in New Zealand, Fightflu figures show.

Happily, there are steps that you can take to protect your workers and productivity.

1

Encourage your staff to get their flu shot and to protect their whānau too (kids are great at bringing home bugs).

Encourage your staff to get their flu shot and to protect their whānau too (kids are great at bringing home bugs).Getting the flu shot every year is your best protection against the flu. This year’s vaccines have been specially formulated for New Zealand and are expected to offer protection against the strain that was circulating in the Northern Hemisphere.

You may also consider funding flu vaccinations yourself – the cost of keeping staff well is likely to be less than the cost of lost productivity if the flu does the rounds. Find a workplace vaccinator near you and arrange a site visit. Alternatively, give staff time off to go get vaccinated and bring back the receipt so you can reimburse them.

The flu vaccine will be arriving in surgeries and participating pharmacies in April. It’s best to get your annual flu shot or immunisation as early as possible, so you’re protected before flu season strikes in winter. Some staff may even qualify for a free shot – they can check www.flufree.co.nz

2

Encourage staff to stay home if they’re sick.

The influenza virus can be anywhere. Around one in four New Zealanders are infected with flu each year. Many won’t feel sick but can still pass it on to others – which is why they should get vaccinated.

It is easy to catch through coughs and sneezes and by touching infected surfaces. Being fit and healthy won’t stop you getting the flu, although it can help with your recovery.

3

Encourage a healthy workplace

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, especially when someone is ill – like doorknobs, switches, keyboards, car steering wheels, phones etc. And stock up on hand sanitiser and tissues.

The flu bug has to get in your nose, mouth or eyes to make you sick – urge people to stay away from sneezers, cover their own coughs and sneezes and wash and dry their hands often. While the most common way for the flu virus to spread is via respiratory droplets (coughs and sneezes) touching your eyes, or fingers in noses or touching something with the flu virus on it (such as shaking hands with someone who has the flu) then touching your mouth, eyes or nose are all ways the flu virus can spread and germs can get into your body.

Urge staff to get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage their stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food – if you’re fit and healthy you are likely to develop a stronger immune response to vaccination and bounce back more quickly from infection from the range of viruses circulating during the winter season.

Newsletter Notices

Get ready for flu season – protect yourself and your whanau.

Colder weather also brings along a nasty passenger – the flu.

As you may have seen in the media, it’s been a terrible flu season in the Northern Hemisphere, which is a possible predictor for what we may see here.

The flu is a serious illness with consequences far worse than a few days off work. Around 400 New Zealanders a year die of flu-related illness and many more are hospitalised. You can also spread the flu bug without knowing you have it – 80 percent of people infected show no symptoms and the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions are particularly vulnerable to infection.

It is much easier to stay well than get well and getting your flu shot every year offers the best protection against getting or passing on the flu. This year’s vaccines have been specially formulated for New Zealand and are expected to offer protection against the strain that was circulating in the Northern Hemisphere. Canterbury District Health Board is urging you to protect your whānau and the wider community by getting your flu shot as soon as possible.

Flu shots are available for anyone for a fee from a doctor, nurse or some pharmacists or you or your whānau may qualify for a free shot – check out www.flufree.co.nz for more info and flu facts.

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