Flu Season Takes a Turn for the Worst

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flu seasonFlu season is in full-swing with little relief in sight as 36 states see widespread influenza activity and 11 states and Puerto Rico experience regional incidences.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported last Friday an increase in influenza activity—11.4 million cases—October 1, 2018 through January 19, 2019 and expects an otherwise extended flu season. The CDC also noted that over the past five years, end-of-season hospitalization rates for influenza have steadily increased from 31.4 per 100,000 (2015-2016) to 102.8 per 100,000 (2017-2018).

If you have an event scheduled during flu season here in the US or one that includes US attendees traveling abroad, here are a few quick tips for keeping the flu at bay.

1.) Have mobile hand sanitation dispensers available in all event areas

2.) Clean surfaces with a disinfectant

3.) Offer virtual attendance for meetings and conferences

4.) Have flu masks available for attendees

5.) Break into smaller groups with separate itineraries that minimize mixing and mingling

6.) Avoid team building that involves personal contact or integration of close personal space

7.) Use new, disposable supplies

8.) Seek to minimize air and ground transfers

9.) Ditch the buffet

10.) Send attendees a pre-event checklist of things they can do to prevent obtaining the flu

The CDC is a good resource for this last tip. The organization also cites the flu vaccine as a good defense against influenza; last year, the vaccine reduced the risk of seeking medical attention due to influenza by 40 percent last year. The CDC also advises people over age 65 and individuals with medical conditions to get a pneumococcal vaccination to prevent pneumonia.

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