Over the past few months, there has been an increase in influenza and respiratory infection cases in Malaysia. While most children are advised to get vaccinated immediately, what about the working adults?
What will happen when a tired, overworked, stressed employees get the flu?
According to a recent study conducted by HealthMetrics, there are several illnesses which befall employees more frequently than others, leaving them unproductive at work or even preventing them from going to work altogether.
The research conducted across four industries in Malaysia - education, food and beverage, manufacturing and production, and financial services found that Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI), or more commonly known as the flu, makes up 47% of overall employee visits to the clinic. While the flu may not sound as menacing as other more severe illnesses, complications from the flu also include pneumonia, myocarditis, kidney failure and in some cases may even result in death when not treated.
Having said that, timely vaccination is pertinent in protecting companies and its employees from the direct costs of doctor visits and the risk of lowered productivity in the workplace. Companies should advocate for employees to get vaccinated as soon as possible since flu immunization is only effective when administered to people who are not already ill and will take around 2 to 3 weeks to build immunity.
In the rush for the Chinese New Year break where everyone is busy submitting deadline and finishing last minute work, it is now more important than ever for employees to have done their medical check-ups, receive necessary vaccinations and practice good hygiene habits to better enjoy the upcoming festivities with their loved ones.
Next to the flu, the most common illness faced by employees in Malaysia is fever, making up 14% of overall employee visits to the clinic.
Other common illnesses seen in organisations include fever, acute gastroenteritis (AGE), headaches/migraines, muscle pain/body aches, gastritis, diarrhoea, hypertension and cough.
Hence, it is crucial that companies ensure that their employees are protected against illnesses and any stress-related medical conditions.
After all, a happy employee is a productive employee.
By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya