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Why businesses, governments should fight against this year’s flu season

Employers who want to ensure business continuity in the workplace this winter may want to get their staff members the flu vaccine.
Employers who want to ensure business continuity in the workplace this winter may want to get their staff members the flu vaccine.

People get sick year-round, but during the winter months, instances are occurring at a faster rate due to the flu. Although not all businesses require staff members to get the flu vaccine before the virus peaks in January or February, employers may want to consider giving the subject extra attention this season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its map of influenza activity in the United States, and about half of the country is experiencing moderate to high outpatient visits because of the flu. Altogether, 40 states reported widespread activity, which means more than half of the counties within a state have some type of flu activity, according to CNN.

"H1N1 is the predominant virus circulating, and we do know when H1N1 predominates, there appears to be more fatalities," Dr. Gil Chavez, deputy director for California's Center for Infectious Diseases, told the source "We seem to have a predominance of a more deadly strain."

Unlike other strains of the flu, H1N1 has been causing health problems for people all over the world since it was discovered in 2009. In California, it is taking a hold of many young adults between ages 20-50, the Monterey Herald reported.

"That's concerning — that's the group of individuals who often don't get the flu vaccine. They feel younger, they're healthier, they feel they never get sick," Monterey County Health Officer Edward Moreno explained. "This young population is coming down and dying with the flu."

Because H1N1 is getting more Americans sick, it is likely that flu season is going to peak earlier than usual this year. If employers want to ensure that their business continuity doesn't get interrupted by illness, health officials recommend adults to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible. As of January 20, there have not been any reports of a flu vaccine shortage.

Business continuity consultants can help communities and companies prepare for unexpected disruptions. Establishing a vaccination strategy that appeals to a company's workforce can help limit the impact of flu season.