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Corporate Wellness Advisor

H1N1 (Swine) Flu Prevention

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H1N1 (Swine) Flu Prevention

Good news!

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently announced that overall flu activity in the U.S. decreased in the month of January.

Hopefully, your employees are among the millions of people following flu prevention tips, like getting a flu shot, and being diligent about hand washing.

But what about H1N1? The dreaded H1N1 (swine flu) strand causes regular flu-like symptoms including cough, sore throat, fever, body aches, headaches, fatigue, and chills. Since H1N1 is so similar to the regular flu, only a lab test can determine if you have it.

And H1N1 is no joke: More than 11,000 people died April to mid-December in 2009 from H1N1. And although there has been a lull in both flu cases, experts predict an increase as the flu season peaks, which could result in billions of dollars in lost productivity.

The number one way to caution against H1N1 is to get vaccinated immediately. Officials from the CDC say the vaccine is now readily available to everyone—not just high risk people like the elderly or those with chronic illnesses.

Protecting against H1N1 is a lot like protecting against the regular flu (wash your hands, cough into the crook of your elbow, stay home if you’re sick, etc.). Here are a few additional tips for employees on how to prevent H1N1:

Go vitamin D. People who take vitamin D supplements have better luck avoiding the seasonal flu, which may also help ward against H1N1.

Seek fresh air. Being in an office all day means you’re in close proximity with a lot of people—and their germs. Take a few breaks to get outside and breathe some fresh air.

Make time to work out. Aerobic activity improves the exchange of oxygen to keep the immune system strong, and lungs clear.

Go green! Dark leafy vegetables have copious amounts of immune boosting phytochemicals. Or eat an apple: Fruit is loaded with vitamins your body needs to help fight off bad germs.

Don’t smoke. Smoking compromises breathing and produces more virus-trapping mucous making it easier to get sick.

Beware of infected people. Sure, you love your family, friends, and co-workers, but try to stay at least six feet away from an ill person.

Stay home if you are an infected person. If you’re not feeling well, especially if you have a fever, stay home. Wait 24 hours until your symptoms and fever have gone until you return to work.

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