Anti Flu Campaign

Last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, Oprah had a guest on talking about avian flu. I really shouldn't watch such things at night because often, the subjects occupy my dreams. The guest painted a picture of what life would be like should the avian pandemic hit the US. In short, it's like Katrina but everywhere. Hospitals having to pull people off respirators because other, more viable, patients need them. I don't want to bury my head in the sand, and I don't automatically believe everything I hear, but it's concerning.

I had a bad flu about 8 years ago and it's the worst I've ever felt and/or looked. I was actually scared. For the two full weeks I was sick, if I got up at all (just to get a drink, for example), it exhausted me so much that I would go back to bed and sleep for hours. I should have been in the hospital but wasn't really in a mind-set to make that decision for myself.  It's a nasty illness, and I'm a really healthy person. Since then, I've gotten flu shots every year except this year (I missed the date...oops). Microsoft offers them onsite and I believe this year was the first year that they were free (before there was a $5 charge).

There appears to be a wide-spread campaign here to educate people on avian (and other kinds of) flu as well as provide tools for prevention. According to the website set up for this campaign, there's a team focused on preparedness and response. Reading what was on the site eases my mind after that guy on Oprah last night. There are also posters all over the place (hallways) here reminding people to wash hands (preferably, their own). There are also stickers on the bathroom mirrors. There are anti-bacterial gel dispensers in the kitchens now (I'm one for washing the funk off AND using the anti-bacterial gel) and employees received mini bottles of the gel, like this one (which I plan to take with me on recruiting events):


I used to get sick after almost every job fair I attended. Then I started taking anti-bacterial wipes with me ("cough, cough, nice to meet you Heather...let me shake your hand") and now I also take Emergen-C or Airborne (yeah, took it coming from and going to Vegas). It might sound like overkill to some but I almost never get sick (knock wood) so it's working for me. I wish I had all this stuff when I lived in Chicago and took the El to work.

Aside from the public health/welfare and good citizen aspects to this, I think companies are smart to also think about the time and benefits costs of sick employees and where they can make an impact. We as individual employees don't want to be sick, the companies would rather help to keep us productive and healthy so it's a win/win.

Comments (6)

  1. Tim says:

    RE: "reminding people to wash hands (preferably, their own)". Damn, that is funny. Emergen-C almost came out my nose.

    I agree about washing hands, but isn’t the case the more people who use antibacterial gel, the stronger germs become.

    Not wanting you to lose more sleep, but please see the kind people at the <a href="">College of American Pathologists </a> for some good info.

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    Tim, it’s good to be understood..I was wondering if anyone was going to catch that. About the germs getting stronger, I had heard that in regard to anti-bac soap but then I read a report refuting it. You should have seen the gallons of anti-bac gel they were dispensing on my cruise. Such wide use makes me think that it can’t be making germs stronger. I hope.

  3. Patblue says:

    I traveled for work this past week, I took Airborne(tm) everyday, didn’t touch public things like excalator handles etc, took echinacea, and got plenty of rest and STILL got the travelers cold…I used to be faithful in all of the precautions but this week was a bust!

  4. Mike says:

    I found you via “The Old New Thing” blog.

    I became interested in hand sanitzers for similar reasons:

    but I use Purell’s Hand Saniter because it’s alochol based rather than anti-bacterial. Healthcare professionals like it because it doesn’t make bacteria stronger (although yes, I’ve also read conflicting reports about anti-bac soap).

    Anyway, Purell is worth a try:

  5. bjho says:

    For another scary scenario check out this Canadian docudrama.

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    Patblue-maybe it’s karma for liking Mariah Carey ; ) OK, just kidding buddy. Somtimes you are just bound to get it, I think. No matter how many precautions you take.

    Mike-I winder if ours is the alcohol based kind. I’m sitting here sniffing the little bottle and I swear they added a lemony scent so now it smells a bit like a vodka tonic with a twist. Now all you Microsoft employees that read this, try to resist sniffing yours (didn’t I tell you guys I smell everything?).

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