Flu season might not have hit your area yet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking about it, because chances are it will hit…soon.
Although some people might dismiss the flu as no big deal and something we just have to put up with and go through each year, avoiding the flu is actually serious business. In fact, the flu is serious enough that there’s a government website devoted to it: Flu.gov.
At this point, you might be wondering why a blog about home security and safety is delving into something as off-topic as influenza. The answer is that we care about all aspects of keeping your family safe and secure! And keeping everyone healthy, avoiding risky medical complications, and preventing unnecessary expenses all fall into the category of safe and secure, in our opinion.
Why you want to avoid the flu
If you need convincing that avoiding the flu is imperative, consider three of the consequences of this illness: health, school and financial.
Health—Although most people will recover from the flu in two weeks or less, the flu can be deadly. Certain people, such as young children and people over age 65, are more at risk, and complications can be severe, as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website explains:
While anyone can get sick with flu and become severely ill, some people are more likely to experience severe flu illness. Young children, adults aged 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions are among those groups of people who are at high risk of serious flu complications, possibly requiring hospitalization and sometimes resulting in death.
For example, people with asthma or chronic congestive heart failure are particularly at risk. So why risk it?
School—According to a report compiled by Walgreens, kids missed 91 million days of school during the 2012-2013 school year, almost three times the number from two years prior: In 2010-2011, kids “only” missed 32 million days of school. (The 2012-2013 flu season was particularly severe!) When kids miss school, there are two different ramifications. One is getting behind. My worst case of flu happened way back in the age of the dinosaurs when I was in college. I missed so much school, I had to drop all of my classes for that quarter and start over the following quarter. There was no way I could catch up. The other ramification is financial, as parents stay home from work to care for kids, which leads us to…
Financial—Citing that Walgreens study again, 45% of parents said they have to take time off from work to care for kids sick with the flu. And of the sick days people had to take either because they were sick or their kids were, a surprising 22% of those days were uncompensated. For those who didn’t stay home sick, the employers, there was also a financial cost, to the tune of $30.4 billion in 2012-13. The Walgreens survey also found that the flu cost employees $8.5 billion in lost wages. Obviously, there’s a financial impact associated with the flu!
The flu also keeps people from holiday celebrations, business trips, vacations and more. It is a sickness to be taken seriously if you want to keep you and your family safe and secure.
We’re not going to go into details about preventing and avoiding the flu, because you can find that information elsewhere (and we highly recommend the CDC website as a great place to start, especially these daily habits). But just a few quick reminders:
- Wash your hands. Always and thoroughly.
- Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, and take good care of yourself. It helps!
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth, even if you haven’t been around someone who is obviously sick.
- Try to avoid being around someone who has the flu if you can!
And if you get sick? Please please please stay home! Don’t think you’re being stoic by heading to work no matter what. You’re only likely to make someone else sick. Stay home and get better, without taking anyone else down with you!