This year’s flu season has hit everyone hard. According to the most recent CDC flu activity update, levels of influenza-like-illness across the country are now as high as the peak of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Continuwell Health Ambassadors have seen a 28% increase in call volume from December to January. Many of these callers are suffering from flu-like symptoms and are seeking advice about how they should care for themselves.
Influenza can cost a company, not just in medical costs, but lost productivity as well. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that up to 111 million workdays are lost because of influenza, at an estimated $7 billion a year in sick days and lost productivity.
According to the most recent CDC flu activity update, levels of influenza-like-illness across the country are now as high as the peak of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The update also reported that hospitalizations are breaking records. The graph from the CDC clearly shows that hospitalizations this year are dramatically higher than previous years.
We are just entering into week 13 of this year’s flu season. The average duration has been 16 weeks over the last five seasons. However, seasons can last up to 20 weeks. Meaning there are still several weeks left of increased flu activity.
“Clinicians don’t have to wait for confirmatory flu testing, and should begin treatment with antiviral drugs immediately if they suspect flu in a severely ill or high-risk patient,” says CDC Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat. “There is a lot of flu out there right now. If it looks like flu, it probably is.”
Through the Continuwell platform, employees can quickly access their healthcare information or contact a Health Ambassador to discuss symptoms. The Health Ambassadors are trained nurses who can assess whether employees can recover at home, need immediate care at the hospital, or transfer them to a telemedicine doctor to prescribe antiviral drugs.
Tips to Reduce Risk of Catching or Spreading the Flu
- Frequently wash your hands
- Cover your cough or sneeze
- Stay away from people who are sick
- Stay home if you are sick
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