Peak Flu Season is Here: Do Not Fret (Publicly)

Old photograph of a doctor checking a boy for scoliosis.

I wake up to find the inner lining of my mouth so dry, that any sudden movement shoots a pain across the back of my throat. My forehead feels like the surface of a stove heating up.

With each exhale, a sliver of air passes through the narrow opening of an unblocked passageway in my nostril while humming the tune of a whistle.

Finally. I release a sneeze that expunges the remnants of sludge that occupied my snout. For a split moment, I am overcome by a sense of bliss. I can inhale through my nose again! All hail! -only to suffer the fate of a blocked nasal passageway just moments after ecstasy. The hollows refill themselves, and I carry on my day in light of the familiar gloom of agony.

Everyone has experienced this. It was brought to my attention, only after undergoing a week-long sickness, that I did indeed suffer from the mild flu, which led me to do some digging.

The CDC reports that peak flu season occurs between December and February, and could last into later months. However, historically, February has had the highest rates of flu activity and incidences. Since the start of the 2018-2019 flu season, the CDC estimates that there have been 10 to 11 million flu cases and numbers are expected to climb in February.

The flu is a business’s worst enemy, here’s why: the CDC reports that the flu costs an estimated $10.4 billion a year nationwide to both small and large businesses attributed to just medical expenses. Another $16.3 billion are lost from direct earnings for a number of reasons including under-staffing, decreased workforce productivity, and increased company costs.

If businesses want to protect their wallets from peak flu season, then perhaps on-site vaccine drives at work is a solution worth exploring. Ensuring every employee gets vaccinated will statistically reduce the flu outbreak from occurring in the office more than it could without employer intervention (it is never too late to get the flu shot). Or even simpler, educate and encourage employees to engage in proper hygienic practices to prevent the spread of germs.