Gloves aren’t a substitute for handwashing, infection control experts say

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Arlington, VA — Think you’re safer wearing gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic? The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology wants you to know that protective vinyl, latex or nitrile gloves could become “more contaminated than bare hands” and “may actually be spreading germs in the community.”

In a recently published resource, APIC cautions that gloves may offer a false sense of security, and “are not a substitute for handwashing” nor a complete barrier to preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 – the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

APIC recommends washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer before and after wearing gloves. And whether you wear gloves or not, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to limit possible exposure to germs.

Study finds cluster headaches can ‘dramatically interfere with people’s work capacity’

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Stockholm — Employees who experience short, severe and frequent headaches – known as cluster headaches – average nearly twice as many missed workdays as their colleagues, according to a study recently published by the American Academy of Neurology.

“Cluster headaches are short but extremely painful headaches that can occur many days, or even weeks, in a row,” AAN says. They may last 15 minutes to three hours, and frequently occur above or around the eye. In the United States, about 1 out of 1,000 people experience cluster headaches.

For the study, a group of Sweden-based researchers analyzed data for 3,240 Swedes of working age who were treated for cluster headaches in hospitals or by specialists from 2001 to 2010, and compared it with data for 16,200 members of the general population. They then examined a registry to determine how many sick and disability days each study participant used in 2010. The average number of sick and disability days for workers with cluster headaches totaled 63, compared with 34 for those without the headaches.

Other findings:

  • Female workers with cluster headaches used an average of 84 sick and disability days, compared with 53 days for male workers.
  • Workers with cluster headaches who completed only elementary school used an average of 86 sick and disability days, compared with 65 days for those who completed high school and 41 days for those with a college education.

“This study shows that cluster headaches dramatically interfere with people’s work capacity,” study author Christina Sjöstrand, of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, said in a press release. “More research is needed on how to best treat and manage this form of headache so people who experience them have fewer days in pain and miss fewer days of work.”

The study was published online Feb. 5 in the AAN journal Neurology.

Surgeon general to employers: Ramp up your worker well-being initiatives

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Photo: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’s

Washington — U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams is urging employers to make worker well-being a higher priority, in an article published online Oct. 10 in Public Health Reports – the official journal of the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service.

“Healthy and happy employees have a better quality of life, a lower risk of disease and injury, increased work productivity, and a greater likelihood of contributing to their communities than employees with poorer well-being,” Adams writes, citing a 2015 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.  Read more

Which worker types are most at risk of burnout? Survey explores

BurnoutBoston — People who are “strivers” at work but struggle with job-related anxiety may face a heightened risk of burnout, a recent analysis shows.

Researchers from online stress management platform provider meQuilibrium surveyed 2,000 adult full-time workers, classifying them into one of six segments based on burnout risk: soulful sufferers, checked out, status quos, strivers, stretched superstars and change masters.

Findings show that strivers have the highest risk of burnout because of their combination of high agility and low resilience – despite exhibiting “a growth mindset” that results in them “brimming with untapped potential,” according to an Aug. 22 press release. Workers in this segment were linked to greater risks of anxiety (54%) and depression (27%), while 66% reported experiencing more negative emotions than positive ones.

The researchers also found that 44% of “soulful sufferers” – identified as “caring people who are struggling to be adaptive, and worrying about relationships and work” – are at high risk of burnout. This group’s low resilience and low agility contribute to its average use of 13 sick days a year. Seventy percent of soulful sufferers reported feeling accelerated pressure on the job, while group members faced a 49% greater risk of depression and anxiety.

“We can’t totally eliminate stress, which is one of the root causes of burnout, from business – but we can support employees by training them to manage stress better, and address the consequences before they impact business metrics such as revenue and profit,” Lucy English, vice president of research at meQuilibrium, said in the release.

In a June revision of its International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization calls burnout an “occupational phenomenon” and outlines three dimensions:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativity or cynicism related to the work
  • Reduced effectiveness on the job

 

Survey shows millennials want more wellness resources

Nearly 4 out of 5 millennial workers say their employers should do more to support their health and well-being, including making resources more readily available, according to the findings of a recent survey.

National polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs, on behalf of Welltok – an employee health and well-being software provider – surveyed more than 1,000 full-time workers, of whom 330 were millennials (age 21-34), in December 2018.

Results show that 78% of the millennial workers said companywide health and well-being initiatives are falling short.

Other findings:

  • 44% of the millennial workers said occupational stress is negatively impacting their lives.
  • 51% have seriously considered changing their work situation because of stress.
  • Among the support resources millennial workers want most, emotional health (75%) led the way, followed by financial (73%), physical (70%) and social health (64%).

In an Aug. 8 press release, Welltok recommends that, in addition to making resources more easily available, employers should use incentives to motivate millennial workers to participate in wellness programs. Among the top rewards the millennials said they would be motivated by are extra vacation time (64%), wellness benefits such as gym memberships (56%) and flexible work schedules (53%).