Colds and flus
The proven and most effective method to prevent catching the flu is to be vaccinated annually.
All you need to know in 30 seconds
- Healthcare workers are more likely to contract colds and the influenza virus than the general population, with around one in four frontline employees contracting flu each year.
- The proven and most effective method to prevent catching the flu is to have the vaccination annually.
- Anyone who works directly with patients should be vaccinated annually against flu; this will limit the spread of the virus and help protect vulnerable patients and the employee’s family.
- All NHSGGC employees are entitled to a free seasonal flu vaccination - make sure your team knows this and can access the vaccination if eligible.
- Both severe and mild cases of influenza can cause work continuity issues due to employees absence and increased workloads for those covering their duties.
- Familiarise yourself with the myths associated with the vaccine and talk to your team to encourage them to get vaccinated to help keep themselves and their families healthy.
All you need to know in detail
Frontline healthcare workers are more likely to contract colds and the influenza virus than the general population, particularly during the winter months when some of their patients will become infected. It is estimated that up to one in four healthcare workers will become infected with flu during a mild influenza season; a much higher incidence than in the general population.
The proven and most effective method to prevent catching the flu is to be vaccinated annually. The Department of Health, the General Medical Council and the British Medical Association all recommend that healthcare workers directly involved in patient care are vaccinated annually. Vaccination limits the spread of the virus and protects the frontline employees, their families and vulnerable patients from contracting the virus.
As a result of these recommendations, all NHSGGC employees are entitled to a free seasonal flu vaccination. Make sure your team knows this and can access the vaccination if eligible.
Flu can have a very serious impact on the health of your employees - even ordinarily healthy people and the young can develop severe complications from influenza, and up to one third of deaths caused by flu in the past few years were in people previously considered healthy.
Even when an influenza infection is not life-threatening, an unwell employee may still be absent for two weeks or more, raising potentially serious business continuity issues within departments or the Board as a whole.
By encouraging influenza vaccination amongst your employees you are not only caring for the individual's health and wellbeing but the wellbeing of your department. Employees should also be encouraged to practise good hand hygiene to limit the spread of infection.
Many myths circulate about the protection provided by the influenza vaccine. Familiarise yourself with these myths and talk to your team to encourage them to get vaccinated, to help keep themselves and their families healthy.
For more information about the Board’s seasonal flu vaccination campaign visit the occupational health website.