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Flu Information Center

Important information for flu season.

Welcome to the Boston Public Health Commission's (BPHC) Flu Information Center. Most flu activity occurs from from October through March each year. The easiest way to protect you and your family from flu is by getting the flu vaccine early in the season.

About the flu

The flu is a contagious illness caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms include fever, cough, muscle aches, headaches, runny nose, sore throat, and general weakness. The onset of flu symptoms can be sudden. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Young children and people 65 years and older are at high risk for developing severe illness from the flu.

Individuals with health conditions are at higher risk for serious illness from the flu. These medical conditions include asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. People who are not high risk can pass the flu to high risk individuals. The flu vaccine provides individual and community protection against the flu.

Flu information for special groups and businesses

During flu season, businesses and employers play a key role. Businesses have to protect employee health and safety and without any negative economic impact. Take steps to limit the spread of influenza, and keep your employees and community healthy.

Develop a Business Continuity Plan
Identify your office’s essential functions and the individuals who perform them. Train enough people to  perform essential functions and allow for potential absenteeism.

Review and Update Sick Leave Policies

  • Employees with the flu should stay home until they have been fever free without fever reducing medicines for 24 hours. For most this will be at least 4 days
  • Employees with sick minors should stay home with them if necessary

Reduce the Spread of Infection
Encourage good infection control practices in the workplace. Display posters about proper hand washing, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette. Everyone should cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when they cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after using it.  

  • Encourage hand washing. Provide enough facilities for hand washing
  • Put alcohol-based hand sanitizer in common areas such as lobbies, corridors, and restrooms. Hand sanitizers should have at least a 60% alcohol base
  • Provide tissues, disinfectants, and disposable towels for employees to clean their work surfaces
  • Provide appropriate disposal receptacles for employees
  • Allow sick employees to stay home so they don’t spread infection to others
  • Encourage annual vaccination against influenza. Consider holding an influenza vaccination clinic at the worksite
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