"Flu in the Workplace" is the topic of the latest M3 Pulse we launched in the United States.
In 2019-2020’s flu season so far, there have been over 500 hospitalizations and 5 deaths reported. Concerned with the 62,000 estimated flu-related deaths during the 2018-2019 flu season, the CDC is encouraging employers to minimize the spread of infections by keeping ill workers at home. Even with suggestions to stay home while ill, Americans will often still go into work.
We asked both healthcare professionals and patients about their working habits in regards to the flu. For a little over half our respondents, working while ill is a rare occurrence. Some healthcare professionals shared the challenge of not being able to find coverage or running the risk of being reprimanded for not being at work even while ill. Both patients and healthcare professionals shared similar work habits regarding illness but a 7% gap in the number of people who often work while ill shows the pressure of the healthcare industry.
One of our healthcare professionals also shared that if they didn’t go into work, no one would take care of their patients, and thus their own illness comes after patients’ care. Several healthcare professionals noted that while they could take sick time, it would be unpaid. A small number of respondents said they have never had the flu and a few credited their luck to annual flu shots. While flu shots aren’t a guaranteed way to avoid every single kind of flu, vaccination does help reduce flu spread in the workspace.