The CDC has been recommending that people infected with swine flu stay home and avoid contact with others for at least one day after they've been free of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
Nancy Cox, director of the CDC's Influenza Division, told the AP that keeping people out of work or school for extended periods of time may not be worth it, since the H1N1 virus continues to cause mostly mild illness, primarily in children and young adults.
"We tried to have our guidance balance out all of these factors," she said. "It's just virtually impossible not to have virus introduced into settings such as schools and universities."
Also on Monday, U.S. health officials urged small businesses to prepare now to keep their shops running if the flu season turns severe. The guidelines for small businesses are one of several guidelines issued by federal officials in recent weeks. Others included guidelines for schools, day-care centers, health-care workers and large businesses.
"We need to make sure that operations and businesses continue on even as we go through the flu season," Janet Napolitano, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, said during a Monday afternoon news conference.
Dr. Daniel Jernigan, deputy director of the CDC's Influenza Division, advised businesses to prepare for two different scenarios -- first if the H1N1 flu remains as mild as it has so far, and second if the virus should change and illness becomes more severe.
"Another key step for small businesses is to protect your workforce," Jernigan said. People should be encouraged to stay home if they are sick and not return to work until their fever has subsided for a day without using fever-reducing medication, he said.
"For most people that is three to five days away from work," Jernigan said. "Some small businesses will have to change their leave practices, but we think that's a good th
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