Flu Season is Here (for Program Planners)

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Toni Sperlbaum, CWWPM, CHWC, Vice President of Sales & Marketing

While flu season doesn’t technically start until October, one thing with wellness programming is that we’re ALWAYS looking ahead!  Everyone has a different opinion on vaccinations, but according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.  Not only that, but you’re looking at higher absenteeism during this time and lower productivity.  The flu is very contagious – most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick.

Here are some basic and more involved things you can do to prevent the flu from taking over your workplace:

  • Wash Hands” signs.  Everywhere.  If they’re already in your workplace bathrooms, add more right at eye level on the door.
  • Place hand sanitizer in break rooms, in conference rooms, near every exit (and entrance) of the building.
  • Host a lunch & learn on illness prevention
  • Make sure employees know your policies on sick time and encourage them to not come to work sick
  • Over-communicate that your health plan covers flu shots at 100% as a preventative.  Some employees think it’s going to cost them money to get a flu shot, not realizing it is covered under their plan.  What a simple fix!
  • Offer onsite flu vaccinations through your vendor (HPA offers these, too!). Here is where the planning ahead comes in.  You’ll need to start scheduling these now in order to coordinate the details of bringing a flu clinic to your workplace, especially if you’re larger or have multiple locations.  Many of us vendors have the capabilities to bill insurance directly for your employees OR can direct invoice your company, whichever you prefer (or a mixture of both).
  • Offer educational materials such as “How do I know if I have the flu?”  “What are the emergency warning signs of the flu?”  “How long should I stay home while I’m sick?” These serves as a little bit of self care, preventing people from using the emergency room if they don’t have to, but also making sure they understand the warning signs in case there IS an emergency.

Plan ahead on this one and make sure you have as many of the above items as necessary to prevent the flu from knocking down your workforce!

Eye Bet You Didn’t See This Coming

Along with beginning the transition from summer to fall something else to look out for in August is National Eye Exam Month. That’s right, this month is exclusively focused on the health of the body part commonly thought of as “the windows to the soul”. If that doesn’t make your eyes pop with excitement, check out these stats:

  • 80% of vision problems worldwide are avoidable or even curable
  • The average blink lasts for about 1/10th of a second
  • Newborns don’t produce tears. They make crying sounds, but the tears don’t start flowing until they are about 4-13 weeks old.
  • Even if no one in the past few generations of your family had blue or green eyes, these recessive traits can still appear in later generations
  • Out of all the muscles in your body, the muscles that control your eyes are the most active

Unlike most body parts the eyes have limited protection from outside forces, this means we are required to do more on our behalf to take care of them. Somethings you can do is wear sun glasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays if you are outdoors and wear safety glasses if you are in a hazardous environment. If you are constantly looking at a computer or phone screen look away every 20 minutes to rest your eyes. Another useful tip that some people overlook is making sure your prescription for your contacts or glasses are up to date.

Keep in mind though, we can still protect our eyes on the inside as well. Our daily diet has a direct effect on our eyes and all their internal working parts. Some things you can do to improve your eye health from the inside is eat foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids acids, zinc, vitamins C and E. Below are some common foods that qualify

  • Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens
  • Salmon and tuna
  • Eggs, nuts, beans, and other non meat protein sources
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits
  • Oysters

Experts recommend that you should have a routine eye exam at least once a year, maybe more depending on your age. Stores such as Sears, Target, Lens Crafters, and America’s Best all have great deals on eye exams and eye care products. Often times, a free eye exam will be given with the purchase or intended purchase of a certain eye care product. So if you can’t clearly remember the last time you got your facial headlights examined take advantage of the spirit of the month and get them checked out! Eye hope you enjoyed using those reading lens in taking time to look at this blog. HAPPY NATIONAL EYE EXAM MONTH!!!