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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

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Scanning for Lung Disease Could Become More Common than Breast Cancer Screens

Posted By NWI, Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lung Disease ScreeningsThe U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) posted a report and draft recommendation on July 30, 2013, related to lung cancer screenings. All recommendations undergo a period of public comment.

Based on the available evidence, the USPSTF recommends screening people who are at high risk for lung cancer with annual low-dose CT scans, which can prevent a substantial number of lung cancer-related deaths. This is a grade B draft recommendation.

Smoking is the biggest risk factor for developing lung cancer, resulting in about 85 percent of lung cancers in the United States. The risk for developing lung cancer also increases with age, with most lung cancers occurring in people age 55 or older. After reviewing the evidence, the USPSTF determined that the benefits of screenings outweigh the harms in healthy individuals who are 55 to 80 years old and have a 30 pack-year (a 30 "pack-year” is one pack a day for 30 years or any equivalent such as 2 packs a day for 15 years) or greater history of smoking, who are either current smokers or have quit in the past fifteen years.

According to the task force, nearly 90 percent of people who develop lung cancer die from the disease, in part because it often is not found until it is at an advanced stage. Screenings would allow healthcare providers to catch the disease while it is still treatable.

As a comparison, according to data arranged by National Public Radio, screening is expected to save one life for every 320 people screened. It takes 900 to 1,900 mammograms to save one life from breast cancer (depending on whether those screened are older or younger).

Why does this matter to you? You can’t treat a disease you don’t know exists. And often, the appearance of symptoms occurs when a disease is too far advanced to effectively treat. Although this recommendation still must go through a public comment period to have it included in standard, insurance-covered, screenings, you may consider the option if you have met the smoking threshold as described above.

About USPSTF: Created in 1984, the USPSTF is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine. The Task Force works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications.

Task Force memberscome from the fields of preventive medicine and primary care, including internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, obstetrics and gynecology, and nursing. Their recommendations are based on review of existing peer-reviewed evidence and are intended to help primary care clinicians and patients decide together whether a preventive service is right for a patient's needs.

The Task Force assigns each recommendation a letter grade(an A, B, C, or D grade or an I statement) based on the strength of the evidence and the balance of benefits and harms of a preventive service. The recommendations apply only to people who have no signs or symptoms of the specific disease or condition under evaluation, and the recommendations address only services offered in the primary care setting or services referred by a primary care clinician.

Tags:  August 2013  Medical Care  Physical 

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Wellness in 10: Fitness Trackers

Posted By NWI, Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fitness TrackersPro: There are some really cool gadgets out there to help you track your fitness and provide motivating data.

Con: Some devices are pricey and the truth is, the trackers won’t get you to a goal, they’ll just provide information that will help you get to the goal--if you choose.

A few things to note:

1. Most of these products are water resistant, but not suitable for swimming. If you are a swimmer, see the Timex Health Tracker.

2. The battery life on these products varies.

3. Some of the products only work with Apple products, some will sync with other devices.

So here are 10 of the most popular options, in no particular order:


Jawbone UP

o MSRP: $129.99

o Worn: As a bracelet

o Product Details: Designed to be worn 24/7; up to 10 days of battery life. Saves data over a lifetime. Tracks sleep (total hours, light versus deep, and length of time to fall asleep), activity (steps, distance, calories burned, time spent active versus idle), and individuals can log nutritional info and workouts. Can also connect through social network with other users. Free mobile app required. User must sync band with an iOS or Android device.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: https://jawbone.com/


Larklife

o Worn: As a bracelet

o Product Details: Designed to be worn 24/7; up to 48 hours of battery life. Saves data over a lifetime. Tracks movement (active, exercise, calories burned, and distance) and sleep(tracking, alarms, and reminders). Offers coaching based on your rhythms and norms. Band automatically syncs with an iOS device.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: N/A

o Company Website: http://lark.com/


Fitbit One and Fitbit Flex

o MSRP: $99.95

o Worn: One is carried in a pocket, or clipped to a belt or bra. Flex is worn as a bracelet.

o Product Details: Designed to be worn 24/7; up to 5-7 days of battery life. Saves data over a lifetime. Tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed. Monitors how long and how well you sleep. Wakes you (and not your partner) with a silent alarm. Syncs automatically to your computer or select mobile devices via Bluetooth 4.0/Bluetooth Smart. Allows user to set goals, view progress with charts and graphs, and earn badges. Share and compete with friends throughout the day. Free iPhone and Android Apps. Log food, weight and more on Fitbit's website or apps. Sweat-, rain-, and splash proof.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.fitbit.com


Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker

o MSRP: $59.95

o Worn: Wear in pocket, on belt or bra

o Product Details: Designed to be worn 24/7; interchangeable battery 4-6 months. Saves data over a lifetime. Tracks your steps, distance, and calories burned – and syncs those stats to your computer and select smartphones. Can also social network with other users. Free mobile app required. User must sync band with i device.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 4.4out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.fitbit.com


LifeSpan MyStride Activity Tracker

o MSRP:$79.99 $20 (pricing on company website is higher)

o Worn: Clips to apparel

o Product Details: Lithium battery lasts for 7 days. Only saves seven days worth of data. The MyStride Activity Tracker is a pedometer, movement tracker, calories tracker, exercise logging device and distance traveled monitor. It has an integrated flip USB to sync your activity progress with your LifeSpan Fitness Club account.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.lifespanfitness.com/accessories/lifespan-pedometer.html


Nike+ FuelBand

o MSRP: $149.00

o Worn: Bracelet

o Product Details: Designed to be worn 24/7, battery life of 1-4 days. Activity through a sport-tested accelerometer, then translates every move into NikeFuel. It's also functions as a watch. Nike+ FuelBand tracks running, walking, dancing, basketball and dozens of everyday activities. Allows goal setting. Wirelessly sync your Nike+ FuelBand to visualize your results. Or plug it directly into your computer's USB port to sync. Free app required.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://nikeplus.nike.com


BodyMedia FIT Wireless LINK Armband

o MSRP: $149.99

o Worn: Armband

o Product Details: Battery life of 5-7 days. Measures calories burned, steps taken, activity levels and sleep quality. Communicates directly with the free BodyMedia FIT app on your smartphone using Bluetooth to give you real time data. Log food using the online tool or mobile app. Import nutritional data from apps such as MyFitnessPal. Receive personalized feedback via the BodyMedia FIT coach. Compatible with iPhone, Android, and other mobile devices. Subscription required after 3-month trial.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.bodymedia.com/the_interface.html?whence=


Timex Mid-Size Health Tracker Watch

o MSRP: $42

o Worn: Watch

o Product Details: Interchangeable battery. Automatically records steps, distance, calories, and active time each day. Discretely stores number of calories or units consumed each meal. Displays cumulative daily activity; alarm sounds when you're halfway to goal. 7-day activity log; countdown timer; water-resistant to 50 meters.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.timex.com/collections/health-tracker


Philips Activa Workout/Fitness Monitor #ACT101M/17

o MSRP: $129.99

o Worn: Clips to body or armband.

o Product Details: Battery life of 20 hrs when using music plus monitoring. Tracks movement, plays music, and gives vocal feedback to help with your workout. Includes headphones. Sync to a computer via a USB.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.usa.philips.com/c/workout-monitors/activa-act101m_17/prd/


Basis

o MSRP: $199

o Worn: Bracelet

o Product Details: Battery life of 4 days and Bluetooth enabled for syncing. Tracks steps taken, calories burned and sleep quality as well as resting heart rate.

o Amazon.com Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars

o Company Website: http://www.mybasis.com/basis-fitness-tracker-product-tour/

Tags:  August 2013  Exercise  Nutrition  Physical  Sleep 

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A Prescription for Health: Following Doctor’s Orders?

Posted By NWI, Thursday, August 1, 2013

Medical ComplianceRecent studies reported in the journal Psychological Science (July 2013) estimate that failure to follow doctor’s advice may increase healthcare costs by up to $100 billion a year.

In a series of studies, Gaurav Suri and colleagues from Stanford and Tel Aviv Universities tested whether this status-quo bias (doing what you usually do versus changing based on a doctor’s advice) could result in behavior that is detrimental, and whether such a bias could be lessened with minimal interventions.

Not doing what your doctor suggests, also called medical noncompliance, such as not taking a prescribed medication due to fears about side effects, dosing requirements such as taking a pill every morning with food, or simply, an individual not wanting to change the way they currently do things (status quo), is as much about cost savings as it is about health and readiness for change.

The studies demonstrated that, when faced with a choice that requires a proactive decision, people often opt do nothing, even when actions that are easy to perform could noticeably improve their current state. However, when individuals where required to be proactive in earlier rounds of the study and then allowed to decide to act proactively later, they were more apt to be proactive when given a choice.

Why does this matter to your health? While medical noncompliance may sometimes result from patient inaction, the researchers conclude that people may be capable of making productive choices about their health if given a nudge in the right direction.

G. Suri, G. Sheppes, C. Schwartz, J. J. Gross.Patient Inertia and the Status Quo Bias: When an Inferior Option Is Preferred. Psychological Science, 2013; DOI:10.1177/0956797613479976

Tags:  August 2013  Emotional  Intellectual  Medical Care  Physical 

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Inspiration: Quotes to fuel your “get-up-and-go!”

Posted By NWI, Thursday, August 1, 2013

MudderThis month’s quotes where collected from Pinterest.com…a great resource for finding spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, occupational and physical inspiration.

The picture, a Tough Mudder athlete (toughmudder.com), proves that if you really want to do something, you find a way. If you don’t, you find an excuse. The Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. This race has earned more than $5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.

Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

It’s not about being the best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday.

Difficult doesn’t mean impossible. It simply means you have to work hard.

Before you act, listen. Before you react, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, TRY.

You can’t be both awesome and negative. Choose one.

Don’t find fault. Find remedy.

These and other inspirational quotes and saying can be found on Pinterest.com.

Tags:  August 2013  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  Physical  Social  Spiritual 

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Sit On Your Own Couch! Online psychotherapy proves just as effective as face-to-face therapy.

Posted By NWI, Thursday, August 1, 2013

Online TherapyResearch released July 30, 2013, provides evidence that online psychotherapy is just as, if not more effective, than face-to-face therapy. The research was done by clinical scientists at the University of Zurich.

Six therapists treated 62 patients, the majority of whom were suffering from moderate depression. The patients were divided into two equal groups and randomly assigned to one of the therapeutic forms. The treatment consisted of eight sessions and could be carried out both orally and in writing.

At the end of the treatment, depression could not be diagnosed in 53 percent of the patients who underwent online therapy—compared to 50 percent for face-to-face therapy. Three months after completing the treatment, the depression in patients treated online even decreased whereas those treated conventionally only displayed a minimal decline; depression could not be detected in 57 percent of patients from online therapy compared to 42 percent with conventional therapy.

Patients in both groups were satisfied with treatment. 96 percent of the patients given online therapy and 91 percent of the recipients of conventional treatment rated the contact with their therapist as "personal.” Online therapy’s added benefit was that patients could and would go back to re-read online correspondence related to their treatment, thus reinforcing the lessons.

What does this all mean?

We are privileged to live in a time when we have multiple options to receive help. If you are weary of sitting on a therapist’s couch, or are pressed for time, online therapy might be a great option for you. In order to avoid unqualified providers, it is important to check that any potential therapist is a licensed professional. A therapist should be able to provide his or her full name, credentials and real-world contact info. Be sure to verify their qualifications through state licensing boards and online registries.

Wagner, B., Horn, A. and Maercker, A. Internet-based versus face-to-face cognitive-behavioral intervention for depression: A randomized controlled non-inferiority trial. Journal of Affective Disorders. July 23, 2013. Doi:10.1016/j.jad.2013.06.032

Tags:  August 2013  Emotional  Mental Health  Social 

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Is It More Than Feeling Blue? Something Wrong? What Mental Health Professional Should You Call?

Posted By NWI, Thursday, August 1, 2013

Feeling BlueWell, it would be easier to get the type of help you need when you are feeling depressed if you knew who you needed to call, right? So here is a basic guide to a few professions in the mental health department.

Where to start: Start with your primary care doctor. While some insurance plans require you to get a referral from a primary care doctor, others will allow you to go straight to a mental health professional. Either way, your doctor might have good suggestions on who would be most beneficial for you to see. Your doctor might also look at your medical history to see if anything could be a factor in your current mental health concerns (e.g., a trauma or reaction to medication).

Your second step: Contact your insurance carrier and make sure you understand what is covered under your plan for mental health. All plans are different. It is better to know in advance what you will have to pay so it isn’t added stress later. If your insurance doesn’t cover mental health adequately, lower-cost counselors can sometimes be found at local universities (students practicing for careers or completing Master’s- or Doctoral-level work), from your local communities, or online.

If your primary care doctor hasn’t recommended a specific discipline in mental health care, this guide will help you to determine what type of caregiver might be best for you.

Psychiatrists: These professionals are medical doctors (four years of medical school after college, one year internship, and at least three years of specialized training as a psychiatric resident). Because psychiatrists are medical doctors, they can prescribe medication to treat mental illness. In addition, they will consider how your body is reacting to a mental issue (monitoring heart issues, high blood pressure, etc.) and vise-versa (is your stress caused by a medical condition?). Some psychiatrists provide counseling and therapy (where they will talk to you about your problems in-depth) and some may refer you to a psychologist or counselor.

Psychologists: A psychologist has a doctoral degree (PhD, PsyD, or EdD) or master's degree in psychology, which is the study of the mind and behaviors. Their education teaches them to evaluate and treat emotional and mental issues. Professionals in this area complete an internship of up to two years that teaches them to work directly with patients. Psychologists are licensed counselors who often work with psychiatrists if a patient needs medical interventions such as medication for depression. Psychologists have studied the mind so they not only understand human behavior, but may also be able to predict human behavior based on certain mental cues.

Licensed Mental Health Counselor: A psychological counselor is very similar to a psychologist. The difference is they are a mental health professional who has a master's degree (MA), like a psychologist, but not necessarily in psychology. Their MA could be in counseling, or a related field. Counselors treat the person and the problems that a person is having. Psychologists do this too, but might also have a deeper understanding of why a person’s brain is causing them to interpret problems in a specific way. In order to be licensed, the professional counselor also needs two additional years' experience working with a qualified mental health professional after graduate school. A mental health counselor is qualified to evaluate and treat mental problems by providing counseling or psychotherapy.

Clinical Social Worker: A clinical social worker has at least a master's degree in social work and training to be able to evaluate and treat mental illnesses. In addition to psychotherapy, social workers can provide case management and hospital discharge planning as well as work as an advocate for patients and their family.

Psychiatric or Mental Health Nurse: Some nurses have had special training in providing mental health services. Depending on their level of training and certification, they can evaluate patients for mental illness and provide treatment in the form of psychotherapy. In some states, they are also licensed to prescribe and monitor medications. Nurses also provide case-management services and serve as patient advocates.

Major Types of Psychotherapy
(This is not a complete list, but a general guide.)

Psychoanalytic or Psychodynamic Therapy: This approach assumes people’s lives are affected by subconscious issues and unconscious conflict. The goal of the therapist is to help the person bring those issues to a conscious level where they can be understood and dealt with. This may involve analyzing dreams or exploring a person's personal history.

Behavioral Therapy: This approach to therapy focuses on learning and behavior in an effort to change unhealthy behavioral patterns.

Cognitive Therapy: The emphasis in cognitive therapy is on a person's thought process--specifically, where that thought process leads to unhealthy behaviors or emotions.

Tags:  August 2013  Emotional  Mental Health 

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Wellness in 10: Simple Steps to Get Out of Your Rut.

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, June 28, 2013

Goals"Most people aim at nothing in life and hit it with amazing accuracy.” -- Jim Cathcart

Lingering for too long in a personal or professional "rut” can have a negative impact on your overall wellness. Intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, socially, physically, and occupationally, human happiness is in part linked to achievement. (For more on this idea, check out Dr. Martin Seligman’s book, Authentic Happiness:www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx).

 

To help you either get out of a current rut, or to achieve more for yourself in the future, here are a few rules to live by:

 

  1. Spend time thinking about the future, what you want to achieve, and your desires for your life. These are large, life goals. Goals enable our long-term vision as well as our short-term action.
  2. Once you have a good idea of what you want, write it down. Writing down goals helps to clarify them in your mind and a list of goals serves as a good reminder when distractions occur.
  3. Consider having different types of goals such as personal, professional, financial, educational, artistic, attitude, pleasure, and public service goals. Remember, achievement doesn’t just have to be about you. Serving others has a positive impact on our overall wellness.
  4. Break your large goals down into manageable pieces. So, if you want to get a promotion at work in the next year, a short-term "small” goal would be to look for opportunities to volunteer for new projects and responsibilities…or to set a meeting with your boss for guidance on your career goals.
  5. Express your goals in a positive way. Instead of saying "No more fattening, fried food” think about writing "Find 10 healthy recipes I really enjoy!”
  6. Review your goals. Are they SMART goals?: Specific (or Significant), Measurable (or Meaningful), Attainable (or Action-Oriented), Relevant (or Rewarding), Time-bound (or Trackable). This is the difference between saying, "I want to be thin,” and "I want to lose 30 pounds over the next two years to better my health and be more active with my children.”
  7. Create "To-Do” Lists to keep yourself on track. Daily, weekly, and monthly to-dos will keep you on track. Let’s face it—it is easier to watch a football game than it is to write a business plan for that business you’ve always wanted to start. Having to-do lists reminds us that we can’t always pick the easier choice if we want to get to where we are going.
  8. Prioritize your to-do lists. There are only so many hours in a day. Decide what you most want to achieve each day, week, and month…and make sure your top goal happens. If you have more time, by all means, keep moving forward.
  9. Know: Failure does not exist…only set-backs. You choose to keep moving forward.
  10. Reward yourself. Acknowledge achievements to boost your confidence for your next go!

Tags:  Emotional  Goals  Intellectual  July 2013  Occupational  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Wellness In 10 

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Feeling Rejected? Why reaching out to others may help.

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, June 28, 2013

Hound and ChimpA study released in June 2013 in the peer-reviewed journal Psychoneuroendocrinology shows a link between feelings of rejection and healthy coping mechanisms. In short, if we feel rejected a hormone called oxytocin will help our instinct to reach out to others and in turn, we will feel better.

The hormone was shown to increase a person's trust in others following social rejection. While our first instinct might be to hide in a corner, finding a friend is the healthier choice.

Mark Ellenbogen and Christopher Cardoso, researchers at Concordia's Centre for Research in Human Development, recently studied the hormone and its links to social behavior. Their research shows humans can choose more than the typical fight or flight response…they can also choose to "tend and befriend.” The research is important because it might lead to more options for those who are stressed, depressed, or lack social support. In addition, the research highlights the importance of social networks.

If you’re stressed, depressed, or feeling rejected, don’t go it alone. Science says you’ll feel better.

"Previous studies have shown that natural oxytocin is higher in distressed people, but before this study nobody could say with certainty why that was the case," Cardoso says. "In distressed people, oxytocin may improve one's motivation to reach out to others for support. That idea is cause for a certain degree of excitement, both in the research community and for those who suffer from mood disorders."

Christopher Cardoso, Mark A. Ellenbogen, Lisa Serravalle, Anne-Marie Linnen.Stress-induced negative mood moderates the relation between oxytocin administration and trust: Evidence for the tend-and-befriend response to stress?Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2013; DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.05.006

Concordia University (2013, June 25). Feeling stressed? Oxytocin could help you reach out to others for support. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 25, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2013/06/130625092003.htm

Tags:  Emotional  July 2013  Social 

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Are you Engaged at Work? Why it matters to you and your company.

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, June 28, 2013

Engagement

Are you Engaged at Work? Why it matters to you and your company.

Data released in June 2013 from Gallup suggests companies that address employee engagement may have an easier time thriving…even in tough economic times. The data was part of a 2012 Gallup study using 263 research studies across 192 organizations in 49 industries and 34 countries. The outcomes mirrored those of the seven previous studies done on the subject of employee engagement. Specifically, it confirmed the link between employee engagement and nine performance outcomes:

· customer ratings

· profitability

· productivity

· turnover (for high-turnover and low-turnover organizations)

· safety incidents

· shrinkage (theft)

· absenteeism

· patient safety incidents

· quality (defects)

For employers, Gallup uses the following tested statements to measure employee engagement:

1. I know what is expected of me at work.

2. I have the material and equipment I need to do my work right.

3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.

4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.

5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.

6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.

7. At work, my opinions seem to count.

8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.

9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.

10. I have a best friend at work.

11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.

12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

Why is engagement at work good for employees? First, engagement is not happiness specifically. Engagement is not necessarily satisfaction either. Engagement at work is care. An engaged employee will go the extra mile to make sure something is done properly. An engaged employee will stay late when needed, but also might switch jobs if they are not happy or satisfied.

A 2011 study published in the Current Directions in Psychological Science (see link below) points to data that suggests engaged employees are also happier. Specifically, the study suggests engaged employees feel more in control of their situations at work and when they don’t like something, they are more likely to take the steps to fix or address what they don’t like and thus have a better chance of being happier.

Not engaged? Feel your employees could be more engaged? Use the 12 statements above as a guide for change. Employees, talk to your supervisors about achieving these statements. Supervisors, ask your employees how they feel with regards to the above statements. It is a great place to start the conversation.

Bakker, A. (August 2011) An evidence-based model of work engagement. Current Directions in Psychological Science. Retrieved June 24 from: http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/20/4.toc

Gallup. (2013) State of the American workplace. Retrieved on June 24 from: http://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/163007/state-american-workplace.aspx


Tags:  Engagement  July 2013  Occupational  Physical 

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Feeling Flu’ish? Stay Home and ask to get paid!

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, June 28, 2013

Sick DayA new study released last month (June 2013) further supports the already staggering evidence that sick employees should stay home for the good of the entire workplace. Interestingly, the study takes an additional step in the debate and ties the prevalence of workplace sickness and productivity to the availability of paid sick leave. In a nutshell, employers who offer paid sick leave, says the study, will have a healthier and more productive workplace than those that only allow sick leave without pay.

The study was done by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. It concluded that universal access to paid sick days would reduce flu cases in the workplace by nearly six percent and estimated it to be more effective for small, compared to large, workplaces. The results are reported in the online version of the American Journal of Public Health.

The Centers for Disease Control warn that an infected person can spread the flu virus one day before symptoms are present and up to 5-7 days after the symptoms appear (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm). Many workers, according to the study, are not inclined to miss so much time from work, especially if time off is unpaid. However, the researchers’ simulations showed that allowing all workers access to paid sick days would have the most beneficial reduction in illness occurrences.

The researchers also looked at the impact of sick-specific "flu days,” in which all employees had access to one or two paid days specifically to stay home from work to recover from the flu. Giving employees one flu day resulted in more than a 25 percent decrease in influenza infections due to workplace transmission. A two flu-day policy resulted in a nearly 40 percent decrease. The researchers found that flu days were more effective for larger workplaces, defined as having 500 or more employees.

How to apply this research?

1. Stay home if you are feeling ill.

2. Don’t feel guilty about missing work for the flu, you are actually doing the company and your coworkers a service.

3. If you are in management or a supervisor, encourage the employees you work with the follow this policy.

4. If you have some workers who do not have paid sick leave, consider flu-specific paid leave to keep your company healthy and productive.

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences (2013, June 13). Universal paid sick leave reduces spread of flu. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 14, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2013/06/130613161831.htm

Tags:  Flu  July 2013  Occupational  Physical 

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