Battle the Growing Tick Health Threat with Free TickTracker App

tick-482613_960_720_tick_handHealth officials are warning ticks and the diseases they carry are spreading across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, report the number of tick-borne disease cases has more than doubled in the last 13 years.

The CDC describes tick-borne illnesses as a public health threat proving difficult to control. While these diseases occur across the United States, the Northeast, Midwest and southern areas of the nation seem to be most at risk.

detail-3370931_960_720+tick2Olivia Goodreau knows a lot about the health threat ticks pose. The teenager was bitten by a tick in Missouri in the summer between first and second grade and it took 51 doctors and 18 months to figure out she had Lyme disease.

Health professionals are seeing more cases of Lyme disease. The CDC estimates that roughly 300,000 Americans are infected with Lyme each year, which is eight to 10 times higher than the number of cases actually reported. Lyme disease has 6 times more new cases each year than HIV/AIDS, yet it receives less than 1% of the funding.

tick-1271763__340_ticerOWhile living with Lyme disease, Goodreau is working to raise money for kids that cannot afford their Lyme medication and for research to find a cure. As a twelve-year old, she started the LivLyme Foundation in 2017 after she was told that she would live with the debilitating symptoms of Lyme disease for the rest of her life, or until a cure is found. Her efforts to help others include developing an app to help track, report, and educate about ticks. TickTracker is free to the public to download via the Apple and Android App Stores.

Learn more about helping Olivia Goodreau’s battle on ticks, the LivLyme Foundation and TickTracker at http://livlymefoundation.org

New Federal Flu Guidelines for Business Plus Practical Tips

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have new federal guidelines to help businesses and employers prep for the upcoming flu season, which could affect business operations this fall and winter.

Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano came together to offer the new guidelines which are also online at http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/workplaceplanning/guidance.html

In response to the seasonal flus and the H1N1 (swine flu), employers should encourage employees with flu-like symptoms or illness to stay home and possibly have those at higher risk of serious medical complications from infection work from home, according to the guidance. In preparation for lost man power, businesses should also address how to operate with less staff.

“One of the most important things that employers can do is to make sure their human resources and leave policies are flexible and follow public health guidance,” said Sebelius. “If employees are sick, they need to be encouraged to stay home. If people begin to experience flu-like symptoms at work, they should be sent home and possibly encouraged to seek medical treatment.”

There is also a communication toolkit for businesses and employers online at http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/workplaceplanning/toolkit.html

Some flu fighting tips for businesses:

Business owners should review sick leave policies and ensure employees understand them

Consider making sick leave policies flexible for workers who may have to stay home with ill family members or if a child’s school is closed

Business owners should consider offering vaccine against seasonal flu, and encourage employees to be vaccinated against seasonal and H1N1 flu.

Business owners may want to cancel non-essential face-to-face meetings and travel, and space employees farther apart.

Consider allowing employees who are at higher risk for flu complications might be allowed to work from home or stay home if the flu is severe.

swineflu

Businesses Urged to Take Action to Lessen Impact of Swine Flu

maskAs the number of suspected and confirmed swine flu cases continues to rise, business owners and managers are being urged to consider operation changes to decrease the impact of an outbreak on their business.

Government officials are offering resources including a business checklist to help entrepreneurs prepare for the impact of swine flu.  Click here for the checklist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Resources.

One workplace advisor is urging business owners to check out the precautions and consider controlling the risk of the flu by looking at ways to change workplace operations.  John Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., says businesses may consider changes including include the implementation of companywide telecommuting, increased video conferencing, social distancing and strict personal hygiene policies.

“The worry is that the business community will be slow to prepare for a widespread outbreak.  For many, the cost of proactive measures is too high for something that may not escalate to pandemic proportions,” said Challenger.  “Many may find out the hard way that not preparing could be far more costly.  Employers will be on the frontline of any outbreak, since business travel and workplaces are major factors in the spread of any virus.  In the case of swine flu, Mexico, which is where the outbreak began and has been most deadly, is one of our primary trading partners,” said Challenger.

Workplace preparations to fend off swine flu may include measures to decrease presenteeism and require employees to wear face masks in the workplace according to Challenger:

“The best solution, however, may be switching to a predominantly telecommuting workforce.  Any employee who can do his or her work from home with a computer and phone should be doing so prior to an outbreak.  This will help prevent a flu virus from spreading among co-workers,” said Challenger.   “Companies might also provide or subsidize flu shots or Tamiflu, which has been shown to be effective in treating swine flu if taken within 48 hours of contraction,” Challenger added.