Flu advice for employers

Flu affects thousands of people every winter, but is much more common during some winters than others.

For most people, flu will be a short illness with no serious consequences, but unfortunately, for a minority it can lead to severe illness.

As an employer, it’s important to be aware of who should be vaccinated and the signs and symptoms of flu

How is flu treated?

Most people will recover within a few days. Resting and taking over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol will help.

Anyone with flu-like symptoms should stay at home until they feel better, so they do not infect others. 

Those in at-risk groups, those who feel breathless or very unwell, or those who develop a productive cough (bringing up phlegm) should telephone their GP or GP out of hours service for advice. For these people, antiviral medication may be advised. 

It is important that patients do not go to an Emergency Department unless absolutely necessary and urgent.

If an employee develops flu-like symptoms at work, arrangements should be made for them to go home. They should remain at home until they recover.

Workplace hygiene advice

Employers can help reduce the spread of all viruses by encouraging and following good personal hygiene:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and use a tissue where possible. 
  • Dispose of used tissues quickly and carefully and wash hands immediately.
  • Clean hard surfaces (eg door handles) frequently using your usual cleaning product.

Adequate supplies of liquid soap, hot and cold water, and paper towels or hot air dryers should be available.

Hand sanitisers may be useful in some circumstances (eg when staff travel away from base) but good hand washing facilities, with soap and water, are preferable where they can be provided.