The flu season is here already and we need to be prepared for it.
According to the CDC, the 2017-2018 flu season (roughly beginning October 2017, peaking in February and ending around May 2018) was a high-severity season, which saw high emergency room and outpatient visits for flu-like illness. From October 2017 to April 2018, 30,453 lab- confirmed flu-related hospitalizations were reported, and sadly, as of October 27th, 2018, the last flu season caused approximately 185 pediatric deaths due to the flu, with 80% of those children not receiving a flu shot. The last flu season really took a toll on all of us and unfortunately since there is no outright cure, we must do all we can to prevent another catastrophe.
For the 2018-2019 flu season, it's of utmost importance that we do everything we can to prevent catching the flu and to stay healthy. At Net Health and like many offices, we work in close proximity, constantly interacting and working face-to-face with one another. These circumstances can increase the chances of catching the flu and having several miserable days and nights, chock-full of coughing, congestion, and general blahness. In order to prepare and try to prevent such events, employers should be engaging with their employees and providing as much guidance as possible to help them stay healthy during flu seasons. Grabbing the attention of employees, especially regarding wellness, can be tricky so there must be a balance of fun and informative.
Here are just a few ways employers can organize and support a successful flu season:
Creative Marketing- Hang posters/fliers strategically, preferably in locations where employees conjugate the most or hand out stickers like the “I voted” stickers from the recent midterm elections. These ads should promote getting a flu shot, reminders to wash hands/use hand sanitizer, covering your mouth when coughing, etc. Also, when mass emailing employees about the flu season, try to make it as funny (memes and gifs are always great options) and punny as possible!
Onsite Flu Shot Clinic- Convenience is key. Getting to the doctor’s or urgent care can be inconvenient and time-consuming. The utilization of onsite flu shot clinics makes the process much more convenient for the employees and can lead to a bigger turnout.
Educate Employees- Education can be fun! Take the important information and put a fun, colorful twist on it. Creating FAQs (frequently asked questions) with bulleted, bite-sized flu facts and stats are eye-catching and do not take much to digest. Also, an educational message or meeting from the trusted leaders of your company promoting and encouraging wellness can help inspire the troops.
Employee Incentives- Offering a reward for getting a flu shot can be very enticing. The incentives can range from a pizza day to a PTO day. Be creative!
See what ideas Cottage Health have used previously in the video below
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