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Offering Paid Medical Leave Makes the Entire Office Healthier, Not Just the Sick Employees

2018 is shaping up to be one of the worst flu seasons in recent history and America’s abysmal paid sick leave practices are not helping at all.

Offering Paid Medical Leave Makes the Entire Office Healthier, Not Just the Sick Employees
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 12, 2017: A man is being examined to get a flu vaccine at a mobile centre for flu vaccination by Belorusskaya Station of the Moscow Metro. Mobile flu vaccination centres are to be open daily for two months; all Moscow residents can get flu vaccination for free. Vladimir Gerdo/TASS (Photo by Vladimir GerdoTASS via Getty Images)

Work hard, play hard. This is the typical American mindset: prioritizing work over all other aspects of life. In the U.S., 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week. For many Americans, this workload is often necessary, as the average cost of living and the affordability of healthcare remains out of reach for many people. The overworked behavior pattern can be disastrous when it contributes to the spread of communicable diseases.

America isn't at her healthiest on a number of fronts.

America is currently in the midst of many epidemics: a mass shooting epidemic, an opioid epidemic and a flu epidemic. All three pose significant risks. 2018 has been a particularly bad year for the flu. In fact, it has been so bad that it is nearly record-breaking in terms of hospital visits. In the first three weeks in January, 24 children have died as a result of the flu, with a total of 37 fatalities since the beginning of the season. The season’s flu is particularly bad, for a plethora of reasons. According to USA Today, “Bothinfluenza A and B strains are circulating at the same time, when one usually dominates early in the season with the other coming on late. Also, flu vaccines are less effective than expected. And one strain of the flu, H3N2, is particularly virulent, making people sicker and sometimes causing an intense reaction from the body's immune system, during which the lungs can become inflamed and airways can be blocked by mucus and more.”

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