The risk of catching flu or succumbing to the dreaded Norovirus (also known as the Winter Vomiting Bug) during the upcoming winter months is something every business needs to take seriously. Not only are flu symptoms extremely unpleasant – aches, pains, high temperature, coughing, sneezing and sweating – it’s estimated the flu virus costs the UK economy over one billion pounds in time off sick, doctor appointments and hospitalisation. Add that to the estimated one million people who catch the Norovirus each year and you can see why winter hygiene is so critical.
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It’s more than just a Cold
Having the flu is more than feeling a bit unwell. People mistakenly claim to have flu when in fact they are suffering from a cold. Full-blown flu can leave you feeling completely debilitated and unable to get out of bed, let alone able to work. It is highly infectious and once it gets a grip on a workplace, it spreads rapidly. Similarly, the Norovirus is notoriously contagious, causing up to 48 hours of violent vomiting and diarrhoea.
So what can you do to protect your staff and business?
The flu vaccination remains the most effective way to combat the spread of the virus and it is available for free by the NHS for certain groups of people including pregnant women, anyone aged over 65 or those with long-term medical conditions. Even if you’re not eligible for a free vaccination, most high-street pharmacies and surgeries provide them for around £10-15. Encouraging staff to take up the vaccine, for example, raising awareness of local pharmacies that offer the service, is a sure-fire way to help reduce the risk.
Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases
The flu virus is spread by tiny droplets of fluid, released through coughing and sneezing. Unpleasant as it is to think about, you are at risk of being infected if you breathe in these droplets or touch them, for example, if they land on a work surface, keyboard or phone.
Maintaining good personal hygiene is essential in the battle to stop the spread of flu:
- Ensure busy workplaces surfaces – including keyboards, monitors, phones, door handles etc – are cleaned with a good anti-bacterial wipes
- Sanitise hands after using the toilet, before eating and after any contact with potentially infected people. If water and soap is not readily accessible, alcohol hand-washes are effective
- Wet hands transfer germs more easily than dry hands: use a touch-free hand-dryer that deliver powerful blasts of air to dry hands in seconds
Why not call Citron Hygiene to discuss those products that will help protect your staff and reduce absence from flu this winter.