Are you "Flu Savvy?" Is your business prepared if employees call out sick due to the flu? These questions and many more can be answered by logging onto two interactive web applications that seek to inform and educate New Jersey residents on the flu.
"One of the best ways to prevent the spread of the flu is education," said Mary E. O'Dowd Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health. "With these web tools, we help educate New Jersey residents and the business community on the dangers of the flu in an interactive and entertaining way."
At "Get Flu Savvy," users start with a 104.5 degree fever and lower their temperature to normal by navigating a road map back to health. Users take flu challenges, are provided historical facts, watch videos about the flu and learn how to prevent the flu and what to do if they become infected. As a participant moves along the roadmap, the player's temperature is lowered by completing interactive quizzes, games and challenges. Get Flu Savvy is available at: http://www.getflusavvy.com/.
"Operating Under the Influenza," is a flu simulation game that tracks the business community of City Town as a flu pandemic hits. Users choose one or more businesses to run, then pick the number of workers for each company, establish the makeup of their workforce and institute different contingency plans to protect employees. As players move through the game, businesses are given educational information provided by the CDC. Tips include: Providing masks to employees to cover the mouth and nose, asking employees to wave rather than shake hands, promoting teleconferencing and sending sick workers home.
The impact the flu has on worker productivity is tracked throughout the simulation. By the end of the game, players will see if their business or businesses were able to continue operating during the crisis. Operating Under the Influenza is available at: https://njlmn.rutgers.edu/jsp/ext/pfg/index.jsp.
Both web applications were developed in partnership with Rutgers University.
The Department reminds residents that the single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot. A flu shot locator is available on the Department's website at http://www.state.nj.us/health/flu/findflushot.shtml.
There are simple preventive steps that everyone should be taking to reduce the spread of the flu:
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way
- Stay home from work or school when you are sick
Those who do get the flu should stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine) except to get medical care. For more tips on what to do if you get sick visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/takingcare.htm