Influenza vaccination lessens workplace absences due to illness

January 14th, 2009 - 4:55 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, January 14 (ANI): Influenza vaccination has been found to enable workers, aged 50 to 64, to lose substantially fewer days of work due to illness in a new study.
Published online in Clinical Infectious Diseases, the study highlights the importance of vaccination to prevent influenza.
Working adults between the ages of 50 and 64 significantly get affected by influenza-like illnesses during the flu season.
The researchers behind this study say that uncertainty regarding the impact of the flu, and the benefits of vaccination, may contribute to low vaccination rates in that segment of the population.
The study included 497 people, 404 of whom received an influenza vaccination. An influenza-like illness was reported by 17.1 percent of the study participants, and was responsible for 39 percent of all work days lost.
According to the researchers, the individuals were on average sick for eight days, missed one and a half days of work, and worked for four days while still symptomatic. Besides that, 30 percent visited a health care provider.
The researchers revealed that the symptoms of illness appeared more severe in unvaccinated individuals, although the differences were not statistically significant.
They further said that among unvaccinated study participants, influenza-like illnesses were associated with 45 percent of all days of illness during the flu season.
However, with vaccination, a substantial reduction of almost 45 percent in the risk of illness was observed as well as a reduction of more than 60 percent in the numbers of days of illness, work loss, working while ill, and days in bed.
“The implications are that the prevention of influenza-like illnesses can have a huge impact on the health and work productivity of adults 50 to 64, and we should do more to make sure that this high priority group is vaccinated. It is a win-win for the worker with fewer illnesses, days of illness, days in bed, etc. and for the employer with improved worker productivity,” said study author Kristin Nichol, of the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported high rates of resistance to the popular antiviral drug oseltamivir in one of this year’’s flu strains.
“Given the concerns about antiviral resistance, this study is a reminder of the importance of influenza vaccine. It’’s not too late to get your flu shot,” Dr. Nichol said. (ANI)

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