Do not bring your flu to work

Memo from Beth Behner, Chief HR Officer

Flu season is upon us, with additional concerns present this year regarding the H1N1 strain. Fever (defined as 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), cough and sore throat are the most common symptoms of H1N1. Other symptoms may include: headaches, body aches, chills, fatigue, runny nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Most people with H1N1 influenza have a fever.

As Chief Human Resources Officer for the UA System, I'd like to remind all employees and supervisors of best practices recommended by the state Department of Health and Social Services and the national Center for Disease Control:

  • Cough into your sleeve or a tissue, not your hands
  • Wash hands frequently with hot, soapy water or use hand sanitizer
  • Stay home if you're sick until at least 48 hours after a fever (100 degrees or higher) has disappeared
  • Do not bring your flu to work and risk infecting coworkers

Most flu, including H1N1, can be treated at home with proper rest, fluids and time; if your symptoms are severe, check with your doctor.

For all UA supervisors:
While the H1N1 flu remains of concern, a doctor's note from employees who report flu-like symptoms should not be required routinely. Having an employee with the flu seek a doctor’s certificate increases the burden on local health care facilities, adds to UA’s health costs and could increase the risk of spreading the flu during a contagious period. Call SWHR if there are any concerns or you wish to discuss particular situations. Consider allowing employees who must care for sick family members (but who are not sick themselves) to work from home, if requested. An employee with flu symptoms may have exhausted sick leave and annual leave. If an employee is contagious and returns to work because there is no paid leave, it may negatively impact the employee and co-workers. Contact SWHR to discuss options in this situation.

Let's work together to ensure our employees and workplace are as healthy as they can be during flu season. For more information, check these websites:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.flu.gov/
State of Alaska http://www.pandemicflu.alaska.gov

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