Flu: Recommendations for Business


Influenza (“the flu”) is a sudden, respiratory disease that spreads easily. It is characterized by the sudden onset of fever, body aches, sore throat, headache, tiredness and cough

  • Encourage all workers, especially those with medical conditions, to get the flu shot. A flu shot greatly reduces the chance of getting the flu and decreases the chance of being seriously ill, thus reducing absenteeism. It is never too late to get the flu shot; however, the sooner the better.
  • Employees with symptoms of the flu should not come to work. Excluding ill employees from the work place can help reduce the spread of the illness to other employees.
  • People often catch influenza and other viruses by picking up the virus on their hands, and then touching their nose, eyes, or mouth. Wash hands several times a day, using soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds (this is generally around the time it takes to sing the ABC song). Dry hands with paper towels or automatic hand dryers. Restrooms should be checked regularly to ensure that soap and paper towels are available for employee use.
  • Influenza is often spread by coughs and sneezes. Make sure disposable tissues are available in work areas for runny noses and sneezing. Individuals should always cover their mouths when coughing and use a tissue when sneezing or blowing their nose. Tissues should be thrown away immediately, and then hands should be washed. (If you cannot wash hands, rub hands with an alcohol hand gel).
  • Employees should be encouraged to contact their physician when they become ill during flu season. If they are ill with the flu, anti-viral drugs may reduce the severity and length of illness when they are taken early in the illness.
  • Employees should avoid sharing of saliva by not sharing glasses, forks, spoons, etc.
  • Common use surfaces, such as water fountains, door handles, handrails, eating surfaces, desks, etc., should be cleaned frequently with disinfectants. Commercial disinfectants or bleach solutions are appropriate. (Mixing ¼ cup bleach with 1 gallon of water makes bleach solution).