The weather is turning cooler in New York. With the cool weather, comes the risk of illness. During the winter, many people suffer from the flu. While in many cases, the seasonal flu is not a big deal, it can result in serious complications for certain individuals. In 2009, the United States suffered from a flu pandemic. While this flu was mild, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu showed that many workplaces were unprepared to deal with the consequences of a quickly spreading illness. As a result, many employees suffered from the virus that year.

Even if the flu is just a temporary illness for many workers, an effort should still be made to avoid spreading it. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are many steps that workers can take to protect themselves from the flu this year. In addition to getting vaccinated, people can avoid the flu by taking proper precautions. These include washing your hands with soap and water; using an alcohol-based rub can also help to prevent the illness. People should avoid touching their faces, including their eyes, mouths and noses.

Additionally, OSHA warns people against using coworkers’ work equipment, tools, computers or phone. People should also ensure that commonly touched areas of the workplace are kept clean and disinfected. These include computer equipment and telephones.

If a person becomes sick, the person should stay home until the individual has been fever free for 24 hours or more. This can help to prevent the spread of disease in a workplace.

When people are seriously injured or suffer from an occupational disease, they may be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. Even if it’s something as simple as the flu, if a serious illness results and time is lost at work, these benefits may apply. New York workers should consider consulting with an attorney to address their specific legal concerns when they get sick at work.