Newswise — With 225 confirmed cases Illinois is leading the nation in the number of confirmed H1N1 flu cases. Many businesses are suffering with schools closing and people being urged to stay at home if they develop symptoms of respiratory illness. Dr. Mary Capelli-Schellpfeffer, medical director of occupational health services for Loyola University Health System, offers four tips on protecting your business from the H1N1 flu:

1. Communicate your policy on attendance when sickMake sure employees are aware of the company's attendance policy and identify a point person for questions. Give examples to illustrate when employees should stay home due to sickness.

2. Prepare for unexpected absencesWith schools and daycares closing many parents are forced to leave work to care for their children. Sick employees also should be sent home to avoid spreading disease. This results in difficulties with staffing. Be sure your company has a plan in place to meet staffing needs if affected.

3. Good housekeeping equals good healthRegular surface cleaning minimizes germ exposure. Eliminate clutter on counters, especially around sinks and food preparation areas, to ease the job of wiping down these often germ-filled areas and promote quick drying.

4. Focus your company's culture on healthThis includes having a prevention program that offers annual flu shots, informs employees about ways to stay healthy and what to do to avoid infectious illness. Also, find prominent places to hang posters that remind people to wash their hands before meals, after sneezing or coughing, and when moving between tasks.

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