Preparing Your Spa or Clinic for Swine Flu

Swine FluNote from Jaya: After watching the news last night, I was thinking that maybe we better start taking this potential swine flu epidemic seriously and get the word out about being prepared. Not only do we want to protect customers and patients from the virus, but it’s essential to protect your staff and yourself. As a service provider, getting sick could put you in the unfortunate position of having to cancel appointments. In our business, not being able to work means not getting paid–something we’d all like to avoid!

This morning, my friend and colleague Hannelore Leavy of the Day Spa Association and International Medical Spa Association sent out an article on this very subject. With her permission, I’ll repost it here.

Prepare – Swine Flu & the Spa

by Eric Light
President of the International Medical Spa Association & Advisory Board Member of the Day Spa Association

Dear Spa Owner,

I am sure you have noticed the recent increase in the number of news broadcasts about swine flu. Our intention is not to scare or panic people, but as the spa industry’s major trade association, we believe we have a responsibility to help you prepare for what might happen this fall.

Here are some of the key facts as we know them:

·     The message from the Centers for Disease Control is now very clear. They believe that the number of swine flu cases will rapidly increase once schools are back in session, with a peak sometime in October. As a guide, Britain saw 100,000 new cases in the first week of the school year, which just began, and that number continues to grow.

·     Those most at risk are children and young adults between the ages of 5 and 24; people with pre-existing conditions (particularly those with respiratory problems), and women who are pregnant.

·     The earliest a vaccine may be available in the U.S. is mid October

·     Many state and local health departments have plans to close schools and businesses where there is a significant outbreak.

What can you do?

You may not be affected, but do what major corporations are doing. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. 

We recommend that you speak with your staff about swine flu and what they need to know, implement and think about:

1.   Underscore that the #1 way to prevent the spread of swine flu is good hygiene practices. The need to wash hands and wipe down surfaces with something like Clorox Wipes should be stressed.

2.   If staff members have children and that child’s school is closed, do they have any child care options available?

3.   If a staff member has any flu-like symptoms, they should not come in – no matter how full their schedule is.  If you don’t have someone to cover the slot, don’t worry. Your clients will appreciate your protecting them and will become even more loyal to you.

4.   Staff members who become ill need to be checked to make sure it isn’t (or is) swine flu. If it is they should get a release from their doctor before they return to work confirming that they are no longer infectious.

You might discuss with your local health department what steps to take if a staff member is diagnosed with swine flu. They may have information they can fax to you. We suggest you do it now when things are relatively calm. If the health department offers any seminars, we recommend that you or your spa manager attend. Your Chamber of Commerce may also be offering an information event (If not, you might suggest it to them).

It’s a delicate subject, but for the safety of your staff and others, how can you ask clients to notify you if they or their family members are diagnosed with swine flu? And how do you notify them if their therapist comes down with swine flu within 48 hours of their treatment?

If there is an outbreak in your spa how would it affect your revenue? What would you do if the health department recommends (or orders) you to shut down? If they do, make sure you notify your bank, landlord, or any other entity that may be expecting a payment about the situation. They are more forgiving if notified in advance. And if you can, start setting aside an emergency cash fund.

Once again, we don’t want to seem alarmist. But we think it would be even worse of the industry were to cross its collective fingers and hope nothing happens. So we urge you to start preparing – better safe than sorry as they say!

If you have any questions, please contact us. If we can’t answer them, we’ll connect you with someone who can.

Eric Light
Advisory Board Member: The Day Spa Association
President: International Medical Spa Association
Eric Light’s website: Strawberry Hill Group, Inc.

PS from Jaya: Did you know that I’m also a former board member for the DSA? Both the DSA and IMSA are fantastic industry resources. Take a moment to click through those links above and check out all the great benefits of membership!

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About the Author

Jaya Savannah - Chief Inspiration Officer. Strategy Coach for Holistic Businesses. Trainer, speaker, and writer. Spiritually aware, yet street smart. Elephant lover.