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Putting Health First: Flu Prevention

Each year, more than 200,000 individuals are hospitalized because of an illness associated with the seasonal flu. As of Feb. 6, 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim that the flu remains widespread among the U.S. and severity is still high. In the height of flu season, it is important to consider taking precautions to prevent the continual spread of this illness. Additionally, with the recent measles outbreak, it has become even more pertinent to implement protective health measures.

The flu spreads easily through droplets produced from those infected with the flu by talking, sneezing or coughing. Be mindful of your members displaying symptoms of the flu, as it may require additional preventative measures. Flu symptoms include the following:

  • Fever or chills;
  • Cough;
  • Sore throat;
  • Runny or stuffy nose;
  • Muscle or body aches;
  • Headaches;
  • Fatigue; and
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

There are several simple actions your church can take to prevent members, employees and volunteers from becoming infected by the flu. Consider the following preventative measures:

  • Host a flu vaccination clinic – Hosting a flu vaccination at your facility can help reduce the number of flu cases, as well as the number of absent employees and volunteers, maintaining productivity and efficiency. Many pharmacies and community vaccinators can be contracted to arrange such an event at your facility. If a flu vaccination clinic is not possible, take steps to encourage your members, employees and staff to get a flu vaccine and provide information on how to do so.

  • Regularly clean and disinfect – With the number of people who visit your building, it is important to regularly clean and disinfect commonly touched objects, such as door knobs, keyboards and phones.

  • Educate about daily preventative measures – Inform individuals about flu symptoms, how the virus spreads and what they can do to stay healthy, such as washing their hands, avoiding contact with sick people and covering their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.

  • Maintain adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs and disposable wipes – Since your organization will be encouraging individuals to participate in daily preventative measures, make sure you have enough items to support these activities.

  • Encourage those who are sick to stay home – Most importantly, the best way to prevent the spread of flu among your organization is to encourage those who have already fallen ill to stay home and away from your facility.

Today, the flu is active in all parts of the U.S. As an organization that is supportive of its members, staff and volunteers, be sure to take measures to protect their health. While we are reaching the end of the flu season, it is important to continuously work to attempt keeping individuals in the church healthy. For more information, view the Flu Prevention and Illness Outbreaks fact sheet on SafeChurch.

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