The Postal Service is encouraging employees to get a flu shot, which will be more important than ever this season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Flu vaccines don’t prevent the coronavirus, but they help to reduce flu-related illnesses, missed work and school, hospitalizations, deaths and burdens on the health care system. This means more medical resources can be directed toward easing the pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts there could be an increase in coronavirus cases during the fall and winter, so it’s important for everyone to remain vigilant and do their part to stay healthy.
With rare exceptions, everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of developing flu-related complications.
Most Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) plans cover flu vaccines at low or no cost.
While the flu exists year-round in the United States, it is most widespread during the fall and winter. The flu generally increases in October, peaks between December and February, and continues until May.
The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine early in the fall and by the end of October. Individuals should aim to be vaccinated before the flu begins to spread in their community because it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to provide protection against the flu.
Influenza usually emerges with moderate illness symptoms; however, it can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia and bronchitis. The flu also makes worse chronic health conditions, like asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
Healthy habits — such as avoiding people who are sick, staying home when sick, covering your cough, cleaning frequently touched surfaces and washing your hands — can help stop the spread of germs.
Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, managing stress and eating nutritious food will also help keep viruses away.
Additionally, during the pandemic, USPS requires all employees to wear face coverings when there is a state or local face covering order or directive in place or when an employee — including those who do not deal directly with the public — cannot achieve or maintain social distancing in the workplace.