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Wales playing ‘Russian roulette’ with flu

WORKERS in Wales are playing ‘Russian roulette’ with flu after two-thirds of employees said they would clock on even though they are still ill.

Guilt, fear of being judged and not having enough paid sick days mean 65% of staff in Wales would still turn up for work even if they had the flu.

As a result, three in five (61%) workers in Wales say they have caught a cold at work, while a quarter (26%) say they have caught the flu from colleagues who have turned up sick.

And two-thirds (66%) of parents in Wales with kids under 16 say their children have not yet been vaccinated, according to a survey for ASDA Pharmacy by Atomik Research.

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Dr Hilary Jones said:

“People need to stop playing Russian roulette with flu – it is an extremely serious illness and, as such needs to be taken extremely seriously.

“Going to work while still ill may seem like the noble thing to do but all it does is delay your recovery and infect those around you.

“And parents should think seriously about getting their children vaccinated – it is easy for kids to pass on flu to their grandparents, who are particularly vulnerable to the disease.”

A third (35%) of people surveyed in Wales said they would not have the flu jab this winter.

Three in ten (28%) of those who will not have the jab said they simply have not considered it, 10% think it does not affect them and 14% never have vaccinations.

Over a fifth (22%) of workers in Wales say they do not get paid for sick days taken off work, meaning they can lose £62 a day in income for each day they are off.

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Nearly half (46%) of workers surveyed in the country say they only get a limited number of paid sick days each year and feel they cannot afford to come in to work.

Nineteen per cent of those say their sick day allowance is just five days a year, meaning many feel they have to come into work before they have fully recovered.

The most common reason for workers in Wales coming in with a cold or the flu was feeling guilty about taking time off (24%).

One in five (20%) say there is no-one else to cover their work and 15% are worried their boss or colleagues would judge them.

Among parents of children in Wales aged under 16 who have not had the flu jab, most (63%) say they will not have the vaccination at all.

This is despite the fact that 45% of under-16s will see grandparents or elderly relatives every week during the winter and 14% will see them every day – putting the vulnerable older generation at increased risk of developing the flu.

Asda pharmacist Maq Din said:

“Having a flu jab not only protects you against flu, it protects your whole family and the wider community.

“Flu is contagious and it can be passed through coughing, sneezing or by touching contaminated surfaces.

“Most flu outbreaks usually happen in late autumn or winter so now is the time to take action and book your appointment as Asda as it takes around 14 to 21 days to be protected against flu.

“Over time, protection from the injected flu vaccine gradually decreases and flu strains often change, so new flu vaccines are produced each year, which is why people advised to have the flu vaccine need it every year too.”

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