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Nationally, the 2017 influenza season was the largest since the 2009 pandemic year. The high level of activity in the community resulted in a lot of people taking time off work and was a significant burden on hospitals, with more than twice the number of people with influenza being admitted than is typical. Last year more than 650 people died just in NSW from influenza related complications.

Unless you can hermetically isolate yourself from society for the entire influenza season this year, getting a flu shot is one of the best protections available. This year’s influenza vaccines have been updated to provide the best possible protection and no you cannot catch influenza from the flu shot, it doesn’t contain a live virus. You either already contracted the flu or you’ve only got a cold.

Workplaces are terrific locations for trading the influenza virus with co-workers and or customers and it comes with a high cost on employers. Simple steps should be promoted in every workplace to minimise exposure and transferal of the virus. Employers should consider offering to organise the influenza shot to employees or promoting the idea of employees going to their GP or pharmacist to get the flu shot.

There’s also some other simple ways employees can help stop spreading the flu:

1) Sneeze into your elbow and spit, if you must, into a disposable tissue (should go without saying, but…..).

2) Clean your hands frequently (traditional soap and warm water is fine and the overuse of hand sanitisers is not recommended).

3) Stay at home if sick (that’s what personal leave is for).

All of these steps will help maintain healthy and productive workplaces in 2018.

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