<p>(BPT) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), last year’s flu season began four weeks earlier than expected, resulting in the earliest flu season in a decade.</p><p>While the early arrival proved to be tough on families, it was especially difficult for small businesses and start-ups that rely on their staff to stay profitable and productive during the holidays and tax season.</p><p>The CDC estimates that each year the flu results in 75 million days of work absences and 200 million days of diminished productivity for businesses nationwide. Cumulatively, the flu costs businesses an estimated $6.2 billion in lost productivity each year, with small businesses proving to be no exception.</p><p>To keep your staff healthy and business booming, Sam’s Club and the Sam’s Club Pharmacy offer the following tips to avoid catching the flu this season:</p><p>* Encourage employees to get immunized </p><p>Immunizations are a simple and effective way for adults and businesses to protect themselves from catching and spreading the flu. The CDC recommends getting an annual flu immunization as the first and most important step in protecting yourself against the flu.</p><p>Get immunized early and persuade your staff to do the same.</p><p>Encourage your staff to get immunized by taking them out for lunch and immunizations.</p><p>Find a location near you that administers the flu shot. This year, your local Sam’s Club Pharmacy offers scheduled and walk-in immunization appointments for all adults age 18 and over – no membership required. Sam’s Club has also implemented additional options for adults to increase flu protection convenience including increased inventory, trained pharmacists to administer immunizations and a privacy screen at each pharmacy for a more comfortable experience.</p><p>* Stop the spread of germs</p><p>In addition to getting the flu immunization, simple daily measures can protect you and those around you from getting sick.</p><p>Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.</p><p>Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.</p><p>Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the spread of germs.</p><p>* Stay home when sick</p><p>If you or a staff member begins to exhibit flu-like symptoms, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from spreading the flu and infecting others.</p><p>If you are sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.</p><p>Additional information about the flu, last year’s outbreak and how to avoid catching the flu this season can be found on the CDC website or by visiting <a href="http://www.samsclub.com/healthyliving" rel="nofollow">SamsClub.com/healthyliving</a>.</p> <img src='http://www.brandpointcontent.com/printsite/ImageWriter.ashx?articleid=18796&memberid=8729' border='0' width='1' height='1' />
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