Precautions For All Workers during Flu Season
The best way to reduce your risk of exposure to the flu virus in your workplace is to use the basic hygiene precautions listed below and to avoid close contact with ill people. If your job involves contact with patients or other healthcare services, then you may need to take additional precautions. Precautions for healthcare workers are addressed separately.
Pandemic flu remains a concern for workers and employers. A pandemic can occur at any time and can be mild, moderate, or severe. The pandemic in 2009 was considered by HHS/CDC to be mild but it still created challenges for employers and showed that many workplaces were not prepared. The precautions identified in this guidance provide a baseline for workplace precautions during a seasonal flu outbreak, but they may not be enough to protect you during a pandemic. Your employer’s pandemic flu plan should be based on a “worst-case” scenario – one in which the virus causes severe illness and death in larger numbers of people. Planning for the worst-case ensures that employers will have the right type of equipment and enough of it on hand to protect you. It also ensures that employers have planned for additional control options so that they can pick the right combination for the specific pandemic flu virus. You may have additional planning considerations too. For example, you may need to think about what you’ll do if schools and daycare facilities are closed. For additional information on pandemic flu planning, see How to Protect Yourself in the Workplace during a Pandemic and the planning resources for the community on Flu.gov.