It’s time to fight flu 

COVID isn’t the only dangerous virus around right now. Follow these five tips to help keep your workers and business safe from influenza.

posted October 18, 2021

Flu Fighters

While COVID-19 and its vaccinations have dominated the news, another virus making the rounds also threatens workers’ health, safety, and productivity.  

Influenza can appear year-round, but the peak season usually runs from December to February.  

According to the CDC, between October 2019 and April 2020, flu resulted in an estimated 410,000 – 740,000 hospitalizations. An estimated 24,000 - 62,000 people died from the flu in that period. 

“Last year, we had a record low flu season. Due to the pandemic, we were staying physically distant, wearing masks, and staying home when we could,” says Liz Hill, Total Worker Health adviser for SAIF. “The Oregon Health Authority is warning things may be different this year, especially since in-person school is back in session for most school-age children. Now is the time to get your flu vaccine.” 

COVID and flu have a lot in common. They’re both spread by coughing, sneezing, talking, and close physical proximity. Symptoms are also similar, including respiratory problems, fevers, and headaches.  (See this chart from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America that shows the symptoms of COVID, flu, a cold, allergies, and asthma.) 

Fortunately, the same simple preventive measures that reduce the risk of contracting COVID can also decrease the risk of getting the flu.   

SAIF’s Flu Fighters — Donna Mask, Maxine Vaccine, Andy Septic, Hans Washer, Colin Sick, and Sleevie Nix — offer advice about preventing the flu. These five measures can be adopted in any workplace.   

  1. Get your flu vaccine.  
  2. Wear a mask.   
  3. Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer if that’s not possible. 
  4. Cover sneezes and coughs. 
  5. Stay home when you’re feeling sick.  

 “If you can’t stay at home, limit the time and increase your distance with others, and wear a mask,” says Hill. “We know these actions can reduce the spread of COVID — and the same is true of the flu.” 

Free posters of the Flu Fighters and their safety advice are available in both English and Spanish from the SAIF website. For more information on preventing the spread of infectious disease, visit SAIF’s infectious disease resources.   

Updated information about the flu is available from trusted organizations such as the CDC and OHA.  



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