Why You Can't Keep the Flu Out of Your Office
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When the clocks turns back and the days grow shorter -- and colder -- it doesn't just mean Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day are on the way. It also means flu season beckons.
Flu season in the U.S. lasts from late October to May, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to a CDC statement, there's no telling how bad this year's flu season could be, so it's best to be cautious and get a flu shot. "Influenza is unpredictable ... last year's mild season is not necessarily an indication of what can be expected in 2012-13," the CDC said in a statement. "Even during mild seasons, flu takes a serious toll."
The CDC reports that some 128 million people (or about 42%) of Americans got a flu shot during the 2011-12 season, mostly older Americans, pregnant women and people with regular contact with flu victims. Asurvey from office supply giant Staples gives a hint as to what happens to the rest of us:
Staples says 80% of U.S. workers will show up on the job even if they're sick with the flu, a rise of 20% from last year.
That means two things: Americans are literally worried sick about losing credibility from management by calling in with an illness, and may be passing along the flu bug to co-workers in the process.
The flu causes U.S. workers to miss 70 million workdays in an average year, leading to billions of dollars in lost productivity for U.S. companies, the survey says.