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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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New Swine Flu Guidelines for Colleges, Work

CDC Explains How Colleges, Universities, and Businesses Should Handle Swine Flu

Managing Swine Flu at Work

The CDC's swine flu guidance for businesses and employers focuses on preparing for people to be out sick -- and on reassuring staff that staying home won't cost them their job.

As with college students, the CDC's main point is that workers with flu-like symptoms should stay home and not come back to work until at least 24 hours after they are free of a fever, or signs of a fever, without using fever-reducing medicines.

The CDC also urges employers to come up with flexible leave policies, in case workers need to stay home and care for a child who is sick or whose school or child care program has closed due to swine flu.

Here are some of the CDC's other swine flu tips for businesses and employers:

  • Expect sick employees to be out for three to five days, even if they're taking antiviral drugs.
  • If an employee gets sick during the day, isolate them from other workers and send them home promptly.
  • Don't require a doctor's note to allow recovered employees to come back to work.
  • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand sanitizers in the workplace.
  • Place posters in the work site that encourage employees to wash their hands often and to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
  • Frequently clean surfaces and items that are likely to be touched frequently, including work stations, doorknobs, and countertops.
  • Encourage employees to get vaccinated against seasonal influenza and to get the swine flu vaccine when it becomes available.

The CDC also encourages seasonal flu vaccination -- and swine flu vaccination, when the H1N1 vaccine becomes available -- for students and workers. Colleges, universities, and businesses should also plan how they would handle swine flu if it gets a lot worse than it is right now, according to the CDC.

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