canyonblue17
Topic Author
Posts: 555
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Frontline employees flu protection

Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:05 pm

The flu outbreak in the US this year has been dramatic. More than 30 deaths already associated with it and many say we have not reached the peak of the outbreak. Most frontline airline employees have to touch or come in very close contact with hundreds or thousands of passengers a day - greatly increasing their exposure to this type of airborne illness. I was wondering if any airlines are allowing employees to take additional precautions such as wearing gloves or medical masks while on the job?
negative ghostrider the pattern is full
 
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GE90man
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Re: Frontline employees flu protection

Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:13 pm

Flu shots seem to be helpful
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Frontline employees flu protection

Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:37 pm

The set up, the drama ... 'allowing employees'. How much time did you spend away at union organizing camp?

There are half a million bank tellers - in spite of ATMs. There are 2.6 million waiters and waitresses. There are 3.2 million teachers in K-12 public schools - trying to teach the little germ factories. Lots of people are exposed. It's a 'public health' problem.
 
canyonblue17
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Re: Frontline employees flu protection

Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:50 pm

Yes there are millions of others exposed - but this is a forum about aviation - so I thought I would bring up the topic in that context. No offense to the others.
negative ghostrider the pattern is full
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Frontline employees flu protection

Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:51 pm

GE90man wrote:
Flu shots seem to be helpful


In general this is a very good plan. This year it hasn't been as effective as previous years. But it's still a very useful thing to do.

Hopefully airlines have subsidised the cost of it for employees and encouraged them to get it.
 
canyonblue17
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Re: Frontline employees flu protection

Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:28 pm

Most airlines restrict what employees can/can't wear through their dress codes. Some of these codes are specific in "allowing/not allowing" protective measures such as gloves or masks. This topic was brought up to see if any airline has softened their rules because of the severity of the outbreak this year.
negative ghostrider the pattern is full
 
AA737-823
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Re: Frontline employees flu protection

Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:03 am

GE90man wrote:
Flu shots seem to be helpful


While it's a very sensible action to take, unfortunately, this year it doesn't seem to be a good match against the H3N2 strain that is effecting many older folks and young children.
HOWEVER, the H1N1 strain that is sickening the younger baby boomer set (50-65, I believe I read) IS well protected by this year's vaccine.

So.
Everybody go wash your hands!
 
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lightsaber
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Re: Frontline employees flu protection

Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:31 am

This year is a bad flu. I was down a week; Tamaflu did wonders for me! I know people who had it 3 weeks.
This article has one good chart (the text is hyperbole): https://www.marketwatch.com/story/one-c ... 2018-01-27
But one good fact:
The CDC estimates that every year since 2010, influenza has resulted in 9.2 million to 35.6 million illnesses, 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 to 56,000 deaths in the U.S.

This is no 1918 flu pandemic, not by a long shot. So far deaths are trending better than normal. Hospitalizations are worse. Also, they stock less medicine and supplies, so there are shortages. The big issue is this flu lasts longer and starts slow; that means more people are infected.

So more people will get sick.

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
GE90man wrote:
Flu shots seem to be helpful


In general this is a very good plan. This year it hasn't been as effective as previous years. But it's still a very useful thing to do.

Hopefully airlines have subsidised the cost of it for employees and encouraged them to get it.

Unfortunately, this year's shot didn't work. It should have been better, but the way the H2N3 vaccine was made resulted in about 10% effectiveness. I've seen studies trying to claim better, but I know too many people who had the flu shot, including myself and children, who came down with the flu. Heck, free flu shots at work and we had at the start of the year 2/3rds of our project out with it.

Lightsaber
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DocLightning
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Re: Frontline employees flu protection

Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:29 am

This year's influenza pandemic has been like nothing I have ever seen in 13 years of medical practice. I'd like to talk quickly about what is circulating, what the vaccine covers, and what the efficacy findings are so far.

There are two major strains of influenza circulating in the northern hemisphere. The first is an Influenza A H3N2 variety. While this virus is well-matched to the vaccine (with 98.5% of viruses inhibited by ferret antisera raised by the vaccine), the production of the virus on eggs seems to lead to some genetic alterations in the surface antigens that reduce the protection offered by the immunization. This is true just about any year an H3N2 Infuenza A is predominant. So far, in the USA, the immunization seems to be ~33% effective at preventing disease and ~50% effective at preventing death. Now, I will point out that 33% is also 33% higher than the zero percent you get if you don't take the shot.

The other strain is an Influenza B Victoria Lineage. According to the CDC, so far influenza B virii have been responsible for ~15-20% of disease burden. That said, in my community I have been keeping track and I have seen about 1/3 of the disease burden come from Flu B, although my rapid tests that I have don't distinguish the different lineages. We usually see influenza B later in the season, in February and March, but this year I got my first case in November and I have been seeing a high disease burden all through the season. The good news is that the immunization usually does a better job against influenza B, with an efficacy of ~60-70%, and it is well-matched to the two circulating strains this year.

The immunization is made by propagating virus on chicken eggs and then breaking the virus particles apart with formaldehyde. The formaldehyde is then washed out, an adjuvant and some stabilizing agents are added, and the vaccine is packaged. Because the USA does not use any "live virus" vaccines, the immunization cannot make you sick, although the immune activation from the vaccine can make you feel a bit off for a day or two.

As for oseltamivir ("TAMIFLU") this is an inhibitor of an enzyme on the surface of the virus particle called neuraminidase. Human cells are covered by a layer of gooey polysaccharide, and this makes it difficult for virus particles to exit the cell. Neuraminidase allows the virus particles to break down this gooey layer and float off on their merry way. Inhibiting neuraminidase prevents virii from leaving infected cells and reaching the cell membrane of uninfected cells. The trouble is that by the time you get oseltamivir on board, the benefit is modest. It only shortens the duration of the disease by a mean of 12 hours (optimistically) and there is only the sketichest evidence that it decreases hospital admission rates or severe complication rates. Side-effects are usually mild and include GI upset and a metallic taste in the mouth. If you have been sick for more than 48 hours, oseltamivir is of no benefit at all.

My experience is that in healthy children and young adults, this is a 3-5 day disease.

For those of you who are interested in some technical details, here is the CDC seasonal influenza page, called "FluView."
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/
-Doc Lightning-

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NozPerry
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Re: Frontline employees flu protection

Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:43 pm

Airlines are normally strict about what crew can wear, it would look bad if a crew member wore a mouth cover or gloves when on the service. Unprofessional and as if you think all the passengers have germs and are unclean.
I love the feel of a Go Around in the morning
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Frontline employees flu protection

Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:01 pm

I worked in IAH for 2 international airlines during the ebola outbreak. I kept a couple pairs of latex gloves and hand sanitizer on me at all times. People called me crazy but at a previous airport job I touched a bag that was covered in a liquid that did not smell pleasant and I wasn't about to play any games.
GE90man wrote:
Flu shots seem to be helpful

In addition to washing hands and not licking surfaces in public places.
You know all is right is the world when the only thing people worry about is if the president had sex with a pornstar.


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SAAFNAV
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Re: Frontline employees flu protection

Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:22 pm

https://amp.theguardian.com/business/20 ... big-pharma

Good article to read in this culture of drink a tablet for everything.
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