Businesses brace themselves for the flu season

Here’s what you need to know

Bupa UK’s Medical Director, Dr Steve Iley explains why it’s important to get vaccinated this winter. Bupa has seen a significant increase in the number of employers looking to protect their employees from the flu vaccinations ahead of winter.  In the past five years, the healthcare company has seen a 353 per cent increase in the number of employers providing employees with flu jab vouchers as part of their corporate health and benefits package.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that minor illnesses, such as the flu were the most common reason for people taking sick leave at work last year.  This accounted for 34m lost working days. Hospitals across the UK are bracing themselves for this year’s flu season which is set to be one of the worst and Bupa has already seen many businesses offering vouchers to employees, to enable them to get their flu jabs at participating pharmacies and supermarkets.

As part of its commitment to helping businesses to create a healthy and resilient workforce, Bupa also provides a team of nurses to set up on-site clinics, meaning employees can be vaccinated at work. This on-site service was established over a decade ago and has proved popular with employers and employees.

Dr Steve Iley, Bupa UK’s Medical Director said: “Flu is highly contagious and can easily be spread within an office so it is reassuring to see that businesses are taking steps to help their people stay well over the flu season.”

“Flu is one of the most common reasons for someone to be off work which can have a serious impact on productivity, however it is easily preventable. We expect demand for flu jab vouchers and our on-site nurses to grow as more businesses recognise the value of encouraging their people to be vaccinated each winter.”

Dr Steve Iley provides advice on the other ways that people can prevent the flu from spreading in the workplace: 

Encourage a clean hand culture

To prevent the spread of germs, everyone should be frequently washing their hands. Hand sanitisers can also do the trick; it’s a good idea to have sanitisers located in easy to access places around the workplace.

Stay at home if you’re unwell

If someone is unwell, it’s best for them to stay at home. Not only will that help them recover, it will also prevent them from spreading the flu to colleagues. Most people with the flu are able to return to work within a week, if you’re worried or symptoms continue you should see your doctor.

Keep a clean workspace

The flu is highly contagious and can be caught by touching the same area as someone with the illness. Encourage people to wipe down their workspace, especially if they work in a shared environment. Sanitised wipes are a great way to make sure the space is clean and helps prevent the spread of germs.

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