New H1N1 Swing Flu guidelines for businesses

NBC Nightly News last night, in their lead story, reported, “Government health officials have been brainstorming for weeks now, working on guidelines for what is expected to be a rough flu season and this time their focus is the workplace.” You’ll want to be sure your workplace is prepared.

More Information:

Yesterday, the government issued new guidelines to prepare businesses for what is expected to be a tough swine flu season.

On its website, ABC News added that the federal guidelines “ask business leaders to promote good hygiene in the workplace, develop plans for work continuity in the event of a flu outbreak, and encourage employees to get vaccinated for flu.”

At a news conference, government officials “stressed the importance of allowing employees who exhibit flu symptoms … go home and stay home until at least 24 hours after their fevers subside,” the Washington Post reports. “They also said that … employers should be prepared to operate with fewer people.”

According to a report in the Washington Times, they “urged businesses Wednesday to suspend the common policy of demanding a doctor’s note from employees on extended sick leave to keep health clinics from potentially being overwhelmed when the new H1N1 flu strengthens this fall.” They also called “for staggering shifts and cross-training employees.”

Still, “federal officials are not sure how bad the outbreak will be,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

As a result, officials said “each company must develop its own unique plan,” the AP adds. They “declined to give more detailed instructions, explaining the scope of a potential outbreak is still unclear.”

By mid-October, “about 45 million doses of swine flu vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and several other companies are expected to be available.” Officials hope “to begin shipping vaccines out to the states when they become available.”

The Wall Street Journal attributes expected delays in H1N1 vaccine delivery to exacerbating possible problems for businesses. According to an HHS spokesman, four vaccine manufacturers out of five had delays producing vaccine antigen.

In the meantime, you may want to take a look at the guidelines and be sure that your workplace is prepared.

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