With flu, preventative measures make “cents”

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

It’s often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Though the math may be different, it’s a philosophy that emerges every year about this time. It’s the flu season, and businesses are forced to prepare, whether it’s one that helps sick people recover or takes extra steps to keep employees healthy and save itself on productivity in the big picture.

Becky Reed has 29 years under her belt as a pharmacist, including the last three years as one of two staff pharmacists at Roden-Smith in Clovis. She said it’s simply a matter of ordering enough medications.

“We basically try to have on hand the medications we’re fairly certain are going to take care of the (symptoms). It’s not that we really prepare for it. As the demand furthers, (it reduces our stock).”

The most popular medications, Reed said, are Phenergan (nausea) and Pedialyte — a fluid replacement medication Reed said is just as good for adults as for children.
Overall, though, it may be cheaper to have a glass of orange juice or take a vitamin pill. Reed said good vitamins and a proper diet will keep the body from compensating for deficiencies (i.e. skipping a meal) and leaving itself vulnerable to sickness.

“In the long run, your good multivitamins will save you the money, and the flu shots too,” Reed said.

Flu shots also save companies money. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine said on average one employee taking a sick day costs a business $200 in productivity.

Just two years after a much-publicized shortage, flu vaccine doses are expected to be at an all-time high this year with 77 million already distributed nationwide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has declared next week as National Influenza Vaccination Week. Evidence, however, shows that people are ahead of the curve.

Presbyterian Healthcare has between 5,000 and 10,000 doses remaining out of its original 50,000, spokesman Todd Sandman said. Presbyterian has eight facilities throughout New Mexico, including Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis.