What is Seasonal Influenza (flu)?
Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection which circulates in all parts of the world. It is contagious and it is usually caused by Influenza A and B viruses which infect the human respiratory tract.
What is the Influenza Virus?
There are 4 types of seasonal influenza viruses, types A, B, C and D. Influenza A and B viruses are more common when it comes to causing seasonal epidemics of disease.
- Influenza A viruses: Currently circulating in humans are subtype A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) influenza viruses. Only influenza type A viruses are known to have caused flu pandemics in the last 100 years.
- Influenza B viruses: Currently circulating influenza type B viruses belong to either B/Yamagata or B/Victoria lineage.
How does the Seasonal Flu spread?
It is spread from person-to-person through droplets made when someone with flu coughs, sneezes or talks near a person (within 1-metre range).
What are the signs and symptoms of flu?
Seasonal influenza is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), sore throat and a runny nose.
When is flu season?
Flu epidemics happen every year in Malaysia. The peak seasons are October to January and April to August.
How do you protect your employees from the seasonal flu?
Flu vaccination is an effective way to protect your employees from contracting the flu virus.
Flu vaccinations are not effective when administered to people that are already sick as it could lead to lower protection levels since the immune system is already busy fighting an existing infection.
Direct & Indirect Costs of the Seasonal Flu
While companies typically view flu vaccinations as an additional cost to the company, it is actually a smart investment.
During the flu season, companies suffer an outbreak of flu cases at the workplace, resulting in a significant increase in sick leaves. Sick leaves not only results in higher medical claims expenditure but also indirect cost such as productivity loss.
A study done at Petronas has shown that investment in flu vaccinations reduces overall costs, both directly and indirectly.
When should you vaccinate your employees?
Flu vaccinations are made by pharmaceutical companies every year and last for a year because the flu virus is ever-evolving. In other words, the flu virus mutates constantly.
It is advisable to have this before the flu season starts as it takes at least two weeks to build immunity for it.
Companies using HealthMetrics get live data analytics dashboards that empower the Management, HRs, as well as Health & Safety Officers to get valuable insights on the health-seeking behaviour of the employees.
A study by HealthMetrics published in Human Resources Online across four Malaysian industries (education, F&B, manufacturing and production, and financial services) has revealed Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) also known as the flu, is the most frequently recurring illness in the Malaysia, making up 47% of overall employee visits to clinics.
Who are at risk of complications?
Young children, people above 65 years old, pregnant women and people who have long term illnesses such as diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, kidney failure are more likely to have serious complications.
How do I get my employees vaccinated?
HealthMetrics has an ongoing on-site flu vaccination program where you can get your employees vaccinated on-site, instead of having to visit a clinic/hospital themselves. Besides this, HealthMetrics' pricing is also often much below retail rates due to economies of scale as it serves over 1500+ companies & over 150,000+ users (as of 6th February 2019).
HealthMetrics' Customer Success team monitors & analyses clients' accounts to advise them on when to start the vaccination process, amongst other strategies. It is important to also note that the supply of flu vaccinations becomes scarce during flu seasons.
Therefore, do make your bookings ahead of the flu season to ensure that your employees are protected when they need it most. HealthMetrics clients do get specially discounted rates and booking priority. You can contact HealthMetrics Wellness Team if you would like to learn more & to make a booking to secure your slot.