Just hearing the words, “swine flu,” creates a feeling of dread in many people. The media and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been warning Americans and the world about the affects the swine flu (H1N1) may have during the upcoming cold and flu season. While some sources are concerned that an H1N1 flu may become a pandemic, the World Health Organization is already considering the swine flu to be exactly that.
The question at this point is, how do individuals prevent catching the swine flu while at work, or while fulfilling their job descriptions? Individuals who work for a business outside their home often have a ready-made list to follow. Typically, rules and regulations are dictated to them by Human Resources concerning measures to protect employees from the swine flu.
For those who work from an office in their home, however, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the only person who’s going to insure that you’re prepared for the swine flu is the person sitting in your chair… and that’s you!
ByTheBecks is a small business, run from two home offices in Santaquin, UT and the following measures have been taken to prepare and protect against exposure to swine flu.
1. Both home offices have dispensers of waterless hand cleaner near the desks, as well as in the cars. Despite the fact that customers don’t come to the offices, contact is still made with others while running to the post office, dealing with delivery people, and meeting other business professionals for lunch. Waterless hand cleaner is a must-use, especially after shaking hands, handling menus, or turning doorknobs in restaurants, stores, and office buildings in order to prevent catching swine flu.
2. Facial tissues are stocked at both home office desks, as well as other disposable materials in both cars, to insure that mouths and noses are covered while coughing or sneezing to prevent spreading the swine flu virus.
3. The keyboard, mouse, and phones in both home offices are wiped down with disinfectants periodically.
4. Individuals who work in the home offices are encouraged not to work when ill to avoid spreading any illness, particularly the swine flu, to others.
5. The earliest date that the seasonal flu vaccine is available in the area is posted on the calendar, and both individuals at the home offices are listed to receive the vaccine on that date. In addition, notes have been posted on the October calendar to get the swine flu shot as soon as it’s available.
6. N-95 respirator masks, which the CDC has recommended having available for particular instances of exposure to the H1N1 (swine) flu, especially for those who work in health care, are stocked in the storage room.
7. Past personal experience with other strains of the flu, plus medical recommendations by personal physicians, have illustrated the necessity of avoiding dehydration during a disease as deadly as the swine flu. For that reason, sports drinks with electrolytes, as well as bottled water, are stocked in the storage area.
8. The consumption of nutritious foods, including fruits and vegetables that bolster the immune system, as well taking supplemental vitamins, minerals, and Echinacea as needed, are encouraged.
9. Information regarding the swine flu is required reading.
10. An emergency preparedness file that includes information about the swine flu is available at the home offices in both an electronic and a hard copy form.
In his inaugural speech in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt stated, “… the only thing we have to fear is fear itself …” and although there is a microscopic swine flu virus to contend with this flu season, being prepared has taken the edge off fear at the home offices of ByTheBecks.
Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/masks.htm
World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_08_21/en/index.html
MedPage Today: http://www.medpagetoday.com/InfectiousDisease/URItheFlu/16046