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First things first, if you have symptoms similar to Coronavirus (CAVID-19) or suspect you have it, or if you have visited China, in particular the Wuhan district in the past 14 days, please call NHS 111 instead of attending a medical clinic.

There are many concerns around the world about the rapidly spreading coronavirus that emerged in China in December. Scientists are still scrambling to understand just how it started. Known as COVID-19, the new virus has already caused more deaths in China than the SARS pandemic of 2002-03 – and there have been new cases confirmed in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, North America, and the Middle East. A global health emergency has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO), and in England there have been 8 cases confirmed so far. But what exactly is the coronavirus and how can we protect ourselves from the outbreak?

What is the coronavirus and is it new?

According to the WHO, coronaviruses make up a large family of viruses that are transmitted between animals and people. These viruses can cause mild to moderate respiratory diseases like the common cold as well as more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

There are other examples of coronaviruses that have caused devastating severe symptoms around the world previously, such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and the 2002-2003 SARS pandemic in China.

What we are currently hearing about is a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. Originating in Wuhan, China, the new coronavirus had not previously been detected before December 2019. It has since been spreading around the world by international travellers, including in parts of Europe.

The new 2019-nCoV belongs to the same family of viruses as SARS-CoV, but it is a different strain of the virus.

What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus?

Like with other respiratory illnesses, the new coronavirus can cause mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. The main symptoms also include a high temperature and shortness of breath.

It can, however, prove more severe for some people, in some cases leading to pneumonia and breathing difficulties. It is in more rare situations that the virus can also be fatal. Those with pre-existing conditions or who are older seem to be more vulnerable to the more severe symptoms, with recovery in most cases depending on the strength of their immune system.

Currently, there are no vaccines for the new coronavirus and antibiotics cannot be used to treat it.

How, then, can we protect ourselves?

The new virus can be transmitted from human to human, usually following close contact with someone who is infected.

We don’t yet know just how dangerous it is, but though there is currently no vaccine, there are things you can do to help prevent it from spreading, such as:

  • Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Bin used tissues straight away!
  • Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water often, or use hand sanitiser gel
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Scientists are still trying to understand how contagious the virus is and how exactly it spreads, so in the absence of a current cure and more substantial data it’s important to follow these simple steps to give yourself as much protection as you can!

Should I see a doctor if I have a cough?

If you have travelled to the UK from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, or Malaysia in the last two weeks and are experiencing cough, fever or shortness of breath, the NHS advises that you call NHS 111, even if your symptoms are mild. You should also make sure you stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.

Should we be worried in the UK?

Though 99% of cases remain in China, there are currently cases in 28 other countries around the world.

The WHO has declared the outbreak to be a public health emergency, but there is still much that can be done to halt the outbreak.

The government in the UK has raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. But the risk to individuals at present remains low.

Concentrating our efforts on hygienic practices remain, at present, our best weapon against the novel coronavirus!

January is on record as being the most depressing month of the year. Everywhere you look, people are coughing, sneezing, battling the horrors of being too hot and too cold at the same time. In the office, colleagues are dropping like flies, chocolate wrappers have been swapped for tissues. Christmas cheer is a long lost relative, the sort of which could license its own documentary series. As the old adage goes however, the new year means time for a fresh start. So how can you make sure you can protect your employees’ health this winter?

As we usher in a new decade, it stands to reason that we must inadvertently also usher in the season for colds and new ailments. If you are one of the lucky few who managed not to get ill this Christmas – or take your illness into the new year – be not surprised if you are heralded a wonder and recruited by the scientific community for research.

New data in fact, published in January last year, shows that workers take on average 53% more sick days in January than any other month of the year.

According to research from CharlieHR (HR software for small businesses) the number of sick days taken in January 2017 equalled 1,248 – with January followed by February and then March in terms of the number of sick days taken.

The main causes for these, according to a 2018 report published by the Office for National Statistics, are minor illnesses such as coughs and colds.

In 2017, more than 34 million working days were lost as a result.

Illnesses such as colds and flu however can be avoided. They can also easily spread through the air and by close personal contact (through a handshake, sharing a phone, touching a doorknob) – meaning they can rapidly spread in the workplace.

How can you protect your employees?

Making sure you wash your hands, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and getting a flu jab can all help you keep you safe during the cold winter days, where colds are known to run wanton.

If you find yourself a subject of the infamous trilogy of symptoms caused by the common cold (runny nose, sore throat, coughing), you may also find comfort in getting plenty of rest and sleep and drinking plenty of fluids.

Short-term sickness absence at work, however, are often unavoidable – in fact, illnesses and medical appointment are the most commonly reported reasons for missing work.

During the cold and flu season especially, there is a dramatic spike in absenteeism rates.

So how can you help to keep your employees’ health in check and keep company downtime to a minimum?

On-site company doctor

At Doctorcall, we provide a range of fast, affordable private GP services designed to target this.

Our company doctor service – provided in-house – is a popular way of providing employees with access to regular GP consultations at work.

This means that staff can be seen on-site without having to carve out time to see their doctor outside of the office – helping them to gain access to quick, quality private healthcare while minimising time spent away from work.

Not only do we help set up a consulting room at your office, but our easy online booking process for staff also makes it easier for them to make their own appointments.

They can benefit from access to on-site company doctor sessions as often as you like – with access to confidential, regular health checks.

Reducing Absenteeism with unlimited appointments

For smaller companies, our private GP membership scheme – a popular staff benefit – can provide a more cost-effective route to help reduce absenteeism in the workplace.

It provides as a less expensive and more popular alternative to Private Medical Insurance (PMI)
Since arrangements are made at a local clinic and same day appointments are generally available, it provides a way of securing rapid treatment with minimal disruption to work.

By reducing time taken off work by staff to see their own GP, our membership scheme can help maintain business continuity and productivity – while making sure employees can stay happy and healthy.

A popular benefit for employees

Our GP Clinic Membership scheme offers staff access to quality medical treatment at a conveniently located private clinic for as little as £2.79 per week.

Members receive access to unlimited private GP consultations and a range of exclusive benefits.
Come talk to us

Many across the UK and worldwide will use the new year to mark a fresh start, putting health at the top of the priority list. If you want to find out how to keep your employees healthy this winter, take a look at how you can benefit from our unique private services – including access to our exclusive membership scheme and on-site company doctor.

 

Problem

When staff take time off due to influenza, it can cost businesses anywhere between £875-£1,751 each year. It is highly contagious and can spread rapidly through the workplace. Employees infected with the virus are encouraged to stay at home to recover, which takes roughly between one to two weeks, and it is usual for an employee with the virus to take up to 5 days’ absence from work. This leads to absenteeism, missed deadlines and reduced productivity, which has a significant impact on business operations and costs.

Solution

Doctorcall – the original pioneer of retailer flu vaccinations – offers a flexible flu vaccination programme for NHS staff, retailers and businesses, helping to protect workers from the annual onset of influenza. Our flu vaccination programme includes onsite flu jabs, meaning employees don’t have to travel offsite for their vaccination, and flu vaccination vouchers, which can be redeemed at a participating retailer. Flu vouchers can be purchased in bulk and provide a simpler and more cost-effective method, particularly for field-based staff and home-based workers, as well as those unable to attend a vaccination day in the office. Our onsite service is available 24/7, 7 days a week, and all our company flu vaccinations are carried out by highly experienced nurses.

Result

esure Insurance Services, one of the UK’s leading car, home and travel insurers, introduced Doctorcall’s flu vaccination programme as part of their health and wellbeing framework last year. The programme was valuable in helping to invest in their employees’ health and wellbeing and proved a popular benefit amongst staff.

Charlotte May from esure Insurance Services, said: “We chose Doctorcall due to their competitive offering and reputation. They have a great emphasis on accessibility and offer a flexible and adaptable service, with minimal disruption to day-to-day operations. It was a pleasure to work with Doctorcall. It is something that we definitely would recommend and have already booked our flu vaccination programme again for this year.”

More information about Doctorcall

Doctorcall is an innovative medical group providing a range of high-quality medical services for both individuals and companies. We have private clinics in both London and Manchester as well as a network of medical centres throughout the UK. 

Doctorcall offers workplace flu vaccination programmes for companies nationwide, including Northern Ireland. To find out about booking flu vaccinations in the workplace, visit www.doctorcall.co.uk/flu.

 

As Britain prepares itself for more scorching weather this week, winter is sure to be the furthest thing away from anyone’s mind. While you’re most likely to be focusing on how to cope with the impending heatwave, there is every possibility that you are probably not quite thinking about flu season just yet. But did you know that outbreaks can happen as early as October?

Failure to protect your workforce from flu can result in absenteeism, missed deadlines and reduced productivity. Flu can spread rapidly through workplaces, so as part of your contingency planning this year, find out how you can get ahead of the game and protect your business simply by keeping your employees’ health and wellbeing in sight before winter strikes.

Your best defence against the flu

Influenza, more commonly known as flu, is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause symptoms including fever, coughing, sore throat, chills, body aches, and fatigue. These symptoms tend to come on abruptly, and those with the virus are likely to be contagious before symptoms even show. Flu viruses travel through the air in droplets via coughs and sneezes and can spread rapidly in workplaces.

Influenza viruses are constantly changing, meaning that an annual flu vaccination is your best defence against the illness.
In the workplace, flu vaccinations are the most cost-effective method of protecting your staff and business from the annual onset of flu.

Make your employees’ health a priority

Employee health and wellbeing is vital for a successful company. It ensures that your staff remain engaged, which has a positive effect on productivity.

Many employees, however, feel pressure to return to work before they have fully recovered from illness. This leads to tired, run-down members of staff who are unable to perform at their best. Corporate flu vaccination programmes resolve this issue at its source, by preventing an employee from falling ill in the first place.

Protect your company from disruption

Workplace flu jabs help to reduce absence and can help to protect against significant disruption to your company and services.

It can take between one to two weeks for someone to fully recover from the flu. While for wholly valid reasons, this results in employees needing to take days off from work, which could cost your business between £875-£1,751 per employee.
Personnel Today suggests that, in the UK, widespread adoption of flu vaccination could save “up to £28.9 million in averted sick day costs”.

A pain-free process

While the pain of vaccines can cause all sorts of fears and anxieties, arranging to have your staff vaccinated is a simple, easy process. Not only does it help to protect your business, reduce absence at work and increase employee health and wellbeing, but the process itself is relatively pain-free.

At Doctorcall, we offer cost-effective flu jabs for businesses of all sizes.

Company flu vaccinations are carried out by our highly experienced nurses, who can attend your workplace to vaccinate your staff at a time that suits you, 7 days a week, at any time of day.

We are also proud to have invented the system of flu vouchers, which ensures that staff who are unable to attend a vaccination day in the office are equipped with a voucher that can be redeemed at any participating retailers who provide flu vaccinations.

Get ahead of the game

Doctorcall is proud to have pioneered retailer flu vaccinations in the UK and offers workplace flu vaccination programmes for companies nationwide including Northern Ireland. As well as on-site vaccinations, we offer vouchers for staff who are unable to attend. 

We start vaccinating in the autumn and are now taking bookings for Winter 2019 workplace flu vaccinations.
The infectious nature of the flu means that employees who get it are encouraged to stay at home to rest and recuperate, and to protect their co-workers. Vaccines are the best defence we have against the flu. Winter may be far away, but employee health and wellbeing should never be far from sight.

If you want to help protect your employees’ health and wellbeing this winter, find out how you can benefit from our workplace flu vaccination programme.

For more information, visit www.doctorcall.co.uk/flu or contact us on 0344 257 00644.
 

 

Quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against four strains of influenza virus as against three strains in the older trivalent vaccine.  It has now become official policy to use quadrivalent flu vaccine in the UK.


Why the Change to Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine?

There are two important influenza A strains and two important influenza B strains.   Trivalent vaccines provided cover against viruses from both A strains and one B strain.  A quadrivalent vaccine which covered the second B strain became available several years ago but was not considered cost effective.  However, over the past few years, the additional cost of quadrivalent vaccine has come down and other countries adopted it.

When, in the 2017-18 season, a flu epidemic arose from the B strain that was not included in the trivalent vaccine, a decision was taken in the UK to change to quadrivalent vaccine.  Quadrivalent vaccine is now the internationally accepted vaccine of choice.

Doctorcall has been able to source quadrivalent vaccine at a cost-effective price and we do not believe it is any longer appropriate to offer trivalent vaccine.

 

If you have any further queries, please visit our website:
https://www.doctorcall.co.uk/flu-vaccinations/flu-vaccinations-in-the-workplace