In a public service message sent to spa owners, the Day Spa Association (DSA) provides advice on how to avoid the spread of swine flu. These steps can be implemented by massage therapists as well, to ensure their health and the health of clients.

According to the DSA, the Centers for Disease Control has indicated that the number of swine flu cases “will rapidly increase once schools are back in session, with a peak sometime in October [and] Britain saw 100,000 new cases in the first week of the school year, which just began, and that number continues to grow.”

In May, MASSAGE Magazine reported on swine-flu guidelines issued by the World Health Organization; and those issued by the American Lung Association.

The DSA recommends that spa owners speak with their personnel about swine flu, specifically:

• Underscore that the number-one 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.

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

• 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.

• 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.