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Managing Flu in the Workplace

While each workplace is unique, and a worker’s risk for job-related exposure to flu can vary widely depending on the nature of their job, workplaces should still:

  • Promote flu vaccination among workers.
  • Encourage proper hand and respiratory hygiene / cough etiquette practices.
  • Educate workers on flu signs and symptoms.
  • Inform workers on what to do if they get sick.

If you are feeling unwell with flu-like symptoms and particularly if you are coughing and sneezing – then stay at home. This will help to prevent the disease being passed on to colleagues (and also fellow passengers on your way to and from work, if you travel by public transport). In the workplace, practice good personal hygiene measures – use a disposable tissue to control coughs/sneezes, dispose of it appropriately and wash your hands before eating, drinking etc.

Telling the difference between cold and flu

The NHS has shared the following tips on distinguishing between colds and the flu, which may be of value for managers to share with their workers.

The NHS says flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:

  • a sudden fever — a temperature of 38°C or above
  • an aching body
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • a dry cough
  • a sore throat
  • a headache
  • difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • feeling sick and being sick.

Telling the difference between a cold and the flu can be tricky, but the NHS points out that the flu:

  • tends to appear quickly within a few hours
  • affects more than just your nose and throat
  • makes you feel exhausted and too unwell to carry on as normal.



In contrast, a cold:

  • appears gradually
  • affects mainly your nose and throat
  • makes you feel unwell, but generally sufferers feel well enough to carry on as normal (eg to do their work

How to treat flu yourself

If you have flu, there are some things you can do to help get better more quickly.


  • rest and sleep
  • keep warm
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your pee should be light yellow or clear)

A pharmacist can help with flu:

A pharmacist can give treatment advice and recommend flu remedies.

Do not take paracetamol and flu remedies that contain paracetamol at the same time as it’s easy to take more than the recommended dose.