MADISON, Wis. (1/17/13)--Credit unions should strongly urge their employees to be vaccinated against influenza and consider offering flu vaccination clinics at their offices, experts advised during a free webinar hosted by Agility Recovery Wednesday.
Agility Recovery is a CUNA Strategic Services Provider that specializes in business continuity for credit unions in disaster situations.
The influenza outbreak has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported. The number of states reporting widespread activity rose to 47 from one week ago.
That activity is likely to remain high for the next several weeks, Dr. Michael Jhung, lead medical officer in the CDC's Influenza Division, said during the webinar.
"Flu season started earlier than normal this year, and outbreak levels are likely to remain elevated," Jhung told webinar participants.
The good news is that the current vaccine is about 62% effective, Jhung said. This year's flu vaccine protects against an influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus.
"The vaccine doesn't guarantee you won't contract influenza, but it does greatly reduce the risk and that is good public health policy," Jhung said.
To prevent a widespread outbreak of flu at the credit union, Mark Norton, Agility Recovery, senior continuity planner, offered these tips:
- Provide a flu vaccination clinic at the workplace;
- Provide hand sanitizer to employees;
- Have a culture that supports the health and well-being of employees;
- Beware of common items like the refrigerator and microwave;
- Wash hands, cover sneezes and coughs with sleeves or facial tissue;
- Stay hydrated;
- Take a multi-vitamin; and
- Limit touching.
"If anyone is feeling ill, have them stay at home," Norton said. "We are trying to prevent having those ill people in the office because that is where the virus comes from."