FRI, July 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Your job may dramatically increase your risk of getting trampled. flu, with the potential effects of the spread of other infectious diseases including COVID-19, according to new research.
On average, working people are 35% more likely to catch the flu than those without jobs, but an analysis of US federal data found sharp differences between specific jobs and industries.
The more work-related contact with others, the greater the risk of contracting influenza. For example, people working in sales had a 41% higher risk than farmers, and those working in education, health and social services jobs had a 52% higher risk than miners.
Rates were greater in bad flu years and were consistent with company size, number of jobs, and hours worked, according to research accepted for publication in Journal of General Economics.
The researchers suggested that their findings could influence government policies on many issues affecting private companies, from the design and management of physical work spaces to sick leave policies and telecommuting.
Study author Dongia Koh, associate professor of economics at the University of Arkansas’ Sam Walton School of Business, said the findings shouldn’t surprise anyone.
“We hope it will be relevant to understanding the spread of influenza and other infectious diseases transmitted by respiratory droplets or close human contact, including SARS and COVID,” he said in a university news release.
Koh said the findings open the door to assessing “non-pharmaceutical policies” to combat infections and possibly epidemics.
“In this sense, we believe these findings provide the basis for a regulatory policy that protects workers and improves production and efficiency,” Koh said.
The American Academy of Family Physicians presents Flu prevention tips.
Source: University of Arkansas, press release, June 26, 2021