Now that the usual flu season is here the swine flu, officially known as H1N1, has gained momentum in North America. I’ve noticed many of my favorite personal finance bloggers have been infected this month. They’re not the only ones. President Obama declared a national emergency over the weekend to aid health care providers in responding to the influx of patients.
What’s the flu got to do with personal finance?
Although this is a health issue, it is also an economic one. Most companies are running pretty lean these days and our fragile economy might not handle it well with thousands of Americans out of the work force due to their or family members’ illness. Less money earned is less money circulating.
The health care cost of treating those that need more than self-treatment may leave some with more debt and less discrentionary income as they struggle to pay their share.
What can I do?
1. Use common sense. Wash your hands often, use a tissue when you sneeze or cough, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and stay away from sick people. Most of all, please stay home when you’re sick. Your co-workers and customers would appreciate not being exposed.
2. Get vaccinated. If you don’t have a health reason that disqualifies you get both the seasonal flu and H1N1 flu vaccines when available. My employer offers free vaccinations to all employees each year. It’s not offered just to make it convenient for employees. This is to help prevent a flu wave from disrupting the company’s ability to do business effectively.
3. Be cautious. Whenever there is fear, there are people that take advantage of others and the “swine flu” scare is no exception. There are a lot of people selling products claiming it will protect you from the flu. Unless it’s soap, hand sanitizer or vaccine — I don’t think so.
Get more information on all things flu at the government website flu.gov. Let’s be vigilant and healthy this flu season.
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