Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Taking H1N1 Seriously

Experienced growers have learned how to combat diseases like downy mildew, powdery mildew and pythium, but a handful of growers may find themselves in uncharted territory in the coming months if greenhouse workers come down with the H1N1 flu virus.

Personally, I'm an H1N1 skeptic. Until I see a wide spread of the virus in the United States, I'll continue to believe there really isn't much to worry about. Thousands of people die from the flu every year anyway, and H1N1 hasn't become the Black Plague yet. I do agree the better-safe-than-sorry preparation avenue is the right one, though.

So, whether you're an H1N1 non-believer like me or a believer that an H1N1 outbreak is imminent in the U.S., the following action items the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued should serve as good simple yet good preparatory steps for you and your employees.

1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

2. Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes. Germs spread this way.

3. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your elbow. Dispose of tissues in no-touch trash receptables.

4. Keep frequently touched common surfaces clean.

5. Do not use other workers' phones, desks, offices or other work tools and equipment.

6. Don't spread the flu! If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home.

7. Get vaccinated against seasonal flu. It can protect you against seasonal influenza viruses, but not against 2009 H1N1.

8. Ask your doctor if you should get the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine. Pregnant women and people with chronic medical condittions (i.e. asthma, heart disease or diabetes) are all recommended to receive the H1N1 flu vaccine when it becomes available. People living with or caring for infants under 6 months old should also be vaccinated.

I'd be interested to learn if any growers sat down with their employees or posted H1N1-specific preventative instructions within their facilities.

Is H1N1 something you're taking seriously, or is "just another flu season" on the horizon? Let me know!

No comments:

Post a Comment