It’s the time of the year when employee sick calls always increase. This is a bad flu season – on track to be one of the worst in a decade or longer. How do you tell Flu from Noro? Do we need to handle them differently?
Both are viruses. Both affect millions of people each year. Both have really quick onsets – you feel fine and then you don’t. Here's what you need to know.
Flu always has a respiratory component – cough, runny nose and chest congestion. Noro does not. Both Flu and Noro can have vomiting and diarrhea, stomach cramps and general GI distress. And yes (horribly), it’s possible to have both a touch of the flu and Noro. Generally, someone with the flu has a high fever and a cough while someone with Noro has more severe vomiting and diarrhea.
Keep them out of work until fever free for at least 24 hours. That’s a fever of less than 100.3 F that stays below that temp after they’ve stopped taking Tylenol or Advil. It would be nice to say someone can’t come back while still coughing but the cough from the flu can last weeks. As long as they aren’t not coughing uncontrollably, you’ll need to allow them to return to work. But be sure you’re properly cleaning with a good disinfecting product throughout the day when you have employees or guests sick with the flu.
Noro virus is incredibly infectious A single employee vomiting in the kitchen can get hundreds of guests sick. A single sick guest can easily get other guests and your employees sick. Key points about Noro:
The bottom line is that both Flu and Noro can dramatically impact your operations and responding quickly and proactively will help your team recover. And often proper handwashing is your first, last and best defense against either.