With flu vaccine in significantly short supply, many employers are not able to offer flu shots to their workforce. To help keep employees healthy, the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. (AAOHN) encourages employers to shift the focus of their employee flu-immunization efforts towards educating employees about smart and healthy behaviors that could help them avoid the flu this season.

AAOHN encourages employers to share the following information about healthy behaviors with employees:

  • Practice good respiratory hygiene — The flu often spreads from person to person via coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.

  • Keep your hands clean — Be vigilant about washing your hands often during the day, using antibacterial soap and warm water.

  • Eat, drink and be healthy — Maintain a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Increase your Vitamin C intake.

  • Rest and exercise — If your stress levels are high, your body is more susceptible to illness. To combat stress, get plenty of rest and exercise regularly. Additionally, step outside for some fresh air during your already scheduled work breaks.

  • Recognize the flu — It's important to recognize the difference between the flu and other common ailments. Symptoms of the flu include a high fever; head and muscle aches; extreme fatigue; dry cough and sore throat; runny or stuffy nose and gastrointestinal symptoms.

    Finally, if you get the flu, stay home. Otherwise, you may put your co- workers at risk.