It might seem logical to assume that flu season would ramp down as temperatures moderate, but per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), flu season lasts until mid-May. This year’s flu season has been especially dangerous—and deadly—and CDC experts say it isn’t peaking, yet.
With cumulative hospitalizations at the highest rate since the CDC has been tracking them, employers should remind personnel to stick with flu prevention strategies at least through March, if not longer. As of the most recent Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) flu alert, published February 9, there was high influenza-like illness intensity with widespread occurrences throughout Georgia. More than 1,000 hospitalizations had been reported in metro Atlanta since the 2017-2018 flu season began. You can track weekly flu activity in Georgia on the GDPH’s site.
OSHA’s seasonal flu web page, which you can review here, contains helpful guidance for employers on how to reduce the spread of influenza in the workplace. It also includes a number of links employers may find helpful, such as the CDC’s 2017-2018 Flu Season update page.
A study for The Healthy Workplace Project by the University of Arizona found that implementing a “wash, wipe, sanitize” protocol in the workplace reduces the probability of catching the flu or common cold by 80 percent. That puts responsibility for workplace wellness squarely in the hands of a company and its workers.