Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Swine flu affects work output

No puns intended, but swine flu has literally hogged the spotlight internationally. On the 2nd of May, 2009, Times of India reported 3 suspected cases. By the 7th of August, 2009, Economic Times reported a dramatic hike of 712 total victims having been infected with the deadly virus. Just days ago, BBC reported 6 deaths among the swine flu victims in India., reported “Since May 16, when the first case was reported in Hyderabad, more than 4,000 people have been tested for influenza A (H1N1) virus. Of these, 840 people have tested positive.”

They also had written of how a swine flu test kit will cost Rupees 5,000 for a regular test, and Rupees 10,000 once the victim is confirmed positive with the flu. Apparently it takes a minimum of six hours for the test to return with positive results.

But this no longer affects only personal lives. It affects companies and work output too. Some offices in heavily affected areas such as Pune, allowed their employees to work from home for as long as 10 working days so as to protect the employees, and in essence, their work output as well.

On these flu symptoms, Times of India wrote:

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

* Fast breathing or difficulty in breathing

* Bluish or gray skin colour

* Not drinking enough fluids

* Severe or persistent vomiting

* Not waking up or not interacting

* Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held

* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

* Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath

* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

* Sudden dizziness

* Confusion

* Severe or persistent vomiting

* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?

There is no vaccine available right now to protect against H1N1 (swine) flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

* If you get sick with influenza, you should stay at home and not go for work or school and limit contact with others to prevent them from getting infecting by you.

* Reduce the time spent in the crowded settings.

* Improve airflow in the living space by opening the windows and proper ventilation.

* Practice good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.

This is advice to be heeded. What are you as a company doing to safeguard your employees against swine flu? What measures are you taking to ensure that in the long run, your work does not suffer? Write in and tell us and all our readers about it!

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