With a particularly severe strain of flu known as ‘Aussie flu’ hitting Britain, employers are being urged to offer employees flu jabs to help prevent an outbreak in the workplace.
Despite exhibiting many of the same symptoms as the average commonplace flu, Aussie flu (or to give its correct name, Influenza A virus subtype H3N2) is a more virulent strain.
Symptoms of this highly contagious – and sometimes deadly – virus include fever, nausea, sore throat, diarrhoea and headaches.
By having a flu jab, Public Health England estimates the typical effectiveness for avoiding catching the virus is between 40% and 60%.
Helen Hooper, chief executive of MOHS Workplace Health, a West Bromwich based occupational health provider, believes employers can reduce the risk of employees falling victim to the virus by making the vaccine widely available in Black Country workplaces.
She said: “Most at risk include those over 65, young children, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions like asthma and heart disease.
“This is because people in any of these groups have weaker immune systems, which means they are more susceptible to the virus, and more susceptible to complications like pneumonia and bronchitis.
“The best way to protect yourself from falling ill with flu is to regularly wash your hands to kill germs, practice safe hygiene by using a tissue when you sneeze and cough and making sure you have had your flu jab.
“While the current flu vaccine won’t guarantee a 100% prevention in all cases, it could help reduce the number of cases,” she added.
People already exhibiting mild symptoms are advised to stay in bed, drink lots of water and dose up on paracetamol and to contact their GP if symptoms don’t improve after seven days.