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Businesses Need Swine Flu Action Plan: Experts
Date:8/19/2009

frequent hand washing, routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces and "coughing etiquette," such as covering a cough or sneeze with tissue or a sleeve.
  • Urge employees to get a flu shot once they become available, especially higher-risk individuals, such as pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions.
  • If workers do get sick, sequester them from other employees while they await transport home and encourage them to stay away from work for 24 hours after fever has ended. Fever does not always accompany active flu, so this rule may still not catch everyone with H1N1 flu, the CDC notes.
  • Don't penalize workers or discourage them from taking sick days. And prepare to allow workers to stay home to take care of children if illness strikes or if schools close. "Some businesses require doctor's notes or other paperwork to prove that they or their loved ones had to miss work because of illness. That's a requirement that employers should consider dropping, because it has the potential to overload the health care system that will likely be stressed during this year's flu season," Locke said.
  • Consider creative ways to avoid person-to-person contact if the situation warrants it. This might include telecommuting from home, staggering shifts and spreading essential business knowledge among workers to ensure smooth workflow if a key employee becomes ill.
  • Of course, the H1N1 flu could be more severe than expected, and additional precautions might be advised then, the CDC said. This could include keeping sick workers home for a week after symptoms resolve. And it might also involve implementing a "six-foot rule," asking workers to maintain that distance from coworkers to help avoid transmission of the virus.

    The new CDC recommendations follow on the heels of its guidelines for schools, issued earlier this month. At that time, experts stressed that the timely delivery of an H1N1 vaccine c
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