As someone in charge of safety and health at your workplace, here’s what you need to know about the swine flu outbreak:
The CDC says the virus is susceptible to the prescription antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir. As part of the public health emergency declared by the U.S., supplies from CDC’s Division of the Strategic National Stockpile are being sent to all 50 states and U.S. territories to help them respond to the outbreak.
What steps can people take to stay healthy and slow the spread of the flu?
- 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. The flu virus can spread that way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
- If you get sick, the CDC recommends you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Now might be a good time for businesses to consider how they would be affected if pandemic flu spreads to their area. The federal government has a business checklist available online here.
The CDC has other useful information available for free on the Web, including interim recommendations for facemask and respirator use in certain community settings where swine flu has been detected. The agency has also released interim guidelines for primary and secondary schools as well as childcare facilities.
The CDC’s general page on swine flu is at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/index.htm.