Flu shots’ side effects are nearly non-existent these days. Only 1-2% of people who get a flu shot get a low grade fever (1-2%) and it's almost always low-grade so usually wouldn’t result in their exclusion. The leading theory is that building the antibodies (the whole point of the flu shot) causes some very low-grade fever or body aches. And believe it or not - in major studies where some participants got real flu shots and others got saltwater shots, the same 1-2% got a fever afterward.
The majority of people have absolutely no side effects. And for those who do, it’s extremely mild and lasts only hours and relieved by taking 2 Tylenol a single time. Preventing the flu is far more important this year. Years and years ago, flu shots were made with live vaccine which did cause a mild case of a flu. That is no longer the case.
No, probably not. If someone has these symptoms after a flu shot, we recommend keeping them out for 3 days. That’s enough time for their symptoms to subside if they are just an immune reaction to building antibodies for the flu, or to get sicker if they actually just have another illness. If they develop other symptoms or don’t improve, we’d extend to a 10-day exclusion likely. If they feel better, they can return to work after just 3 days.
It’s true that flu season will mean that more people are sick, unfortunately. The good news is that flu testing and COVID testing are pretty widely available, so that when someone is sick, we’re able to find out pretty quickly if it’s flu, and then return them earlier than COVID unless they have specific close contact with a COVID positive person, or are in an area with rising COVID case counts. The most important thing here is to remember that keeping folks out until we know they are not infectious, while painful in the short term, is still so much better than the alternative of widespread infection. You don’t want your whole team getting sick at the same time.
And of course - encourage them to get flu shots! The best way to prevent widespread flu transmission is for most of the team to get a flu shot.
The answer is definitely yes. We’ve worked with many of you to “educate” local health departments, advocate for the best practices you’re already following, and point out that their request differs from their own previous requests or from neighboring counties or their own state DOH.
Some simple advice: Be polite. Do good contact tracing and exclusions BEFORE you call them. Make sure you’ve done everything you’ve said you’ve done (cleaning, exclusions, talking points). And if someone has an existing good relationship with them, have that person be your primary communicator. The local DOH who knows the operator in their small town prefers to talk to them over someone from Corporate 3,000 miles away. If you’re talking to their epidemiologist, we can help too.
We can’t give you legal advice and this is a great question for your counsel. But we do know that guests and employees have welcomed direction on this topic. And that employees do truly appreciate when your guests mask up. This might be a good thing for the manager to help with, especially since we know that it can be intimidating for servers, bussers, or hosts to have to confront patrons.
This depends on your local and state guidelines. In New York, a mask is the minimum required PPE for someone screening guests or employers for temperature checks. We also recommend gloves. If you have access to it, a face shield may provide additional protection, but is not required in most areas. Regardless, they should be equipped with cleaning and sanitizing products to wipe down their screen and thermometer between each new use.
There are people alive today who lived through the last global pandemic. This fascinating read compares what we’re seeing today to the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.
Lots of discussion about what Halloween will look like this year… Many of us went home on Friday, March 13th and still haven’t left… maybe we should have just tried rebooting?
Disclaimer: This Executive Summary is meant for general information and educational purposes only and does not constitute, and is not intended as, any form of medical, legal or regulatory advice or a recommendation or suggestion regarding the same. No recipient of this information should act or refrain from acting on the basis of this information without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.