Many employers offer an option to get vaccinated against the flu as one of their benefits. But what do employers and employees stand to gain from this? What can individuals do to prepare for the flu season ahead? Read on for more information!
Why should you get the flu shot annually?
As the flu season starts again, it’s important to know that the best way to protect yourself from catching the flu is by getting the seasonal flu shot. You can still catch a cold or another type of illness even when vaccinated against influenza. Still, your body will develop antibodies that will make it easier for you to fight off these kinds of infections.
What are the risk factors for flu infection?
Risk factors include being in close contact with others, such as attending group events, in the workplace, meeting clients and travelling. A 2018 CDC study found that the flu affects between 3–11 percent of U.S. people each year. (healthline.com).
Flu viruses are known to mutate very quickly. The old seasonal flu shot may no longer be effective. So it’s recommended that everyone get a flu shot every year unless they are susceptible to adverse reactions.
What are the risks associated with receiving the flu vaccine?
There may be some risk factors for individuals. It’s likely you will experience some discomfort similar to a mild case of the flu, fever, headache and muscle aches. Health Direct (healthdirect.gov.au) states less than 15% of people experience side effects from the flu shot similar to early flu symptoms, with anaphylaxis estimated at 1.35 cases per 1 million doses.
The flu shot may not be effective for people with severe allergies to eggs or allergic to other ingredients found in the vaccine. In this case, you’ll have to settle with practising good hygiene habits and getting enough sleep during this time of the year.
Will the flu shot provide me with immunity?
The flu vaccine provides immunity against the three strains of influenza that are most likely to appear in that particular flu season. The influenza vaccines are based on the range of flu strains (called “viruses”) that have circulated worldwide over the previous few years.
The National Health Service (NHS) states that: “The best way to protect yourself from getting ill with the flu virus is by having a seasonal flu vaccination.
What can individuals do to lower their risk of infection?
Washing your hands regularly with soap and water can significantly lower your risk of contracting the flu, as well as other illnesses. Health Direct notes that hand hygiene is one of the most effective tools in fighting against germs in everyday life, similar to washing your hands after using public restrooms.
Vulnerable groups such as those with chronic illness or the elderly are at higher risk of the flu. You can protect yourself against influenza by making sure they stay healthy and do not contract the virus. It’s a good idea to take care of yourself by eating a balanced, nutritious diet and getting enough rest.
A 2018 CDC study found that influenza A (H3N2) accounted for 65% of cases in people with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease, compared to 27% in other people. (healthline.com)
What direct benefits does workplace vaccination provide employers?
Healthline reveals the direct cost associated with flu annually per employee is $235 by the end of 2017. But in return, the employer can avoid absenteeism costs. For employers with employees in California, the total costs can reach $30,000 per employee, including employee productivity losses.
The CDC estimates that Americans will suffer from over 200 million cases of the flu during the 2018-2019 seasonal influenza season, including approximately 36,000 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths.
Vitality Works specialise in workplace vaccination programs designed to give workers and their families peace of mind knowing they’re protected from the flu. Workplace vaccination encourages a healthy work-life balance, reduces absenteeism, lifts employee morale as they feel valued by their company while improving their quality of life.
Can my employer insist I take the flu shot?
While certain exemptions for medical reasons may be allowable, the employer may only be allowed to require you to get vaccinated if you work with high-risk groups or the vulnerable such as in aged care or medical facilities.
Coordinating flu vaccination with the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
Workplace vaccination programs are a win-win for both employees and employers offering advantages to both parties: Employees get an opportunity to protect themselves against the flu while employers avoid illness, absenteeism, increasing productivity and lowering costs.
What’s the best time of year to get vaccinated?
The best time is before the flu season. It is important to remember the flu shot will take around two weeks before it will start protecting you against the flu, so consider getting the shot roughly 2-3 months before flu season.
Staying healthy and flu prevention.
Medical intervention aside there are things we can all do, to lower the risk of infection by keeping ourselves healthy such as;
- Eating a balanced diet to support a healthy immune system, eat plenty of vegetables and lower harmful fats and processed sugars.
- Get plenty of exercise – cardiovascular exercise reduces stress, lowers inflammation and helps the body fight disease.
- Reduce stress – stress lowers your body immune systems and leaves your body open to disease, alleviating stress in your life greatly improves your wellbeing.
- Keep hydrated, drink plenty of water or green tea. Keeping track of your hydration and what you drink is essential to body health. A well-hydrated body can help stop harmful toxins accumulating in your body. High toxicity is attributable to a variety of illnesses.
Flu shots are reportedly the best way for individuals to ward off the seasonal flu with few adverse reactions. Workplace vaccination programs are a convenient way for busy individuals to obtain their annual shot while also providing an effective way for employers to reduce absenteeism amongst employees.