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If you’re sick, stay home! Flu season costing Indiana employers millions

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – If you called in sick on Monday, you weren’t alone. The Monday after the Super Bowl is now commonly known as “Super Sick Monday,” a day notorious for people falling “ill.” This year, estimates predict more than 14 million people called off work.

Despite the fact that many of those who called off work may simply be feeling the effects of a late night complete with plenty of alcohol and junk food, health professionals are pointing out that taking an absence from work may not be a bad thing as influenza cases continue to rise.

This week, employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas released estimates that the flu is costing businesses more than $15 billion in lost productivity.

“On one hand you have people showing up who shouldn’t be, and so they increase the likely hood of spreading the illness to others. And then you have other people who aren’t able to do the work, and by default the fact that they’re not able to do the work means that work in some cases is critical,” Executive Vice President Rick Cobb said.

Data from the Indiana State Department of Health say 7.81 percent of illnesses reported in outpatient facilities are said to involve flu-like conditions. Challenger, Gray, and Christmas say those numbers could mean that more than 240,000 Hoosier workers have the potential for getting sick, which would cost Indiana employers more than $200 million.

Health professional identify workplaces as potential breeding grounds for illness. However, they point to a few “best practices” as having the potential to improve your health odds:

  • Get a flu shot. Even if it doesn’t completely protect you from the flu it can lessen its severity and lower the odds of transmission.
  • Clean your work area before, and after each work day.
  • Clean your hands often, and avoid touching your mouth or eyes.
  • Opt for the “elbow bump as opposed to the handshake.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.

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