Department of Public Health

Information for Employers & Organizations

What can local businesses do during a flu response?

Local business support is essential. The health of employees during an outbreak of influenza plays a critical role in the continued operations of a business. Business operations that require close contact with fellow employees and the public face special considerations in preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

  • Promote flu prevention by encouraging employees to be vaccinated for the flu
  • Use the tools and campaign materials to help spread flu prevention messages among your employees and your customers.
  • Provide sufficient facilities for hand washing and alcohol-based hand sanitizers in common workplace areas such as lobbies, corridors, and restrooms.
  • Provide tissues, disinfectants, and disposable towels for employees to clean their work surfaces, as well as appropriate disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • Revaluate your policies regarding sick leave, both formal and informal, for sick employees as well as sick children. Offer flexible policies that support public health steps to decrease the spread of flu. If employees are not able to stay home when a child is sick without losing pay or losing their job, it will be even more difficult for families and schools to ensure appropriate care for their children at home. Are there teleworking or telecommuting alternatives possible? Do superiors require sick employees to stay home or even send them home or is the contrary prevalent? Do you have "Perfect Attendance" awards that may be inadvertently encouraging employees to attend work sick?
  • Send sick employees home as soon as possible. Any employees home with the flu should remain home 24 hours after fever subsides without the use of fever reducing medication.
  • Disinfect commonly-touched hard surfaces in the workplace, such as work stations, counter tops, door knobs, and bathroom surfaces.

What can community- and faith-based organizations do during a flu response?

  • Promote flu prevention by encouraging members to be vaccinated for the flu.
  • Use the tools and campaign materials to help spread flu prevention messages among your members via newsletters and other communications.
  • Remind your members to refrain from attending meetings, services and other gatherings when they are sick. Many people can suffer serious, life threatening consequences if they are infected with the flu.
  • Offer support to families by providing meals, childcare, transportation, and other services to make it easier to stay home if a family member is sick or school is dismissed.

Information for Travelers

When considering any international travel, it is important to know some destinations pose risks for certain diseases. Some countries require certain vaccinations for entry, and US health care providers recommend others for your protection. The Ottawa County Department of Public Health offers Travel Clinics to individuals traveling internationally for business, for missionary work, and for leisure. The CDC provides more information to prevent illness and injury during international travel.