Name some common health issues that cause absenteeism and lower productivity at your company.
Chances are migraine headaches are pretty far down on the list, if you included it at all. But perhaps it should be a higher priority for employee education and risk-management.
An estimated 28 million Americans are afflicted by recurrent migraines. Some projections place the annual indirect cost to U.S. employers at $13 billion. That’s debatable, but there’s no doubt that an employee with a migraine is probably not too productive.
A study by HSM Group concludes that people who suffer from chronic migraines miss on average one day of work every three months.
Even when they come to work, employees admit they have virtually zero productivity on days they have flare-ups. Depending on how successfully the migraine is treated, the attacks can last four to 72 hours.
But there is good news. It’s gotten easier to pinpoint your company’s risk and raise awareness among employees most likely to be migraine sufferers:
- Females are higher risk than males. Stats show 18% of women get frequent migraines, versus 6.5% of men. Female sufferers also tend to get more flare-ups; they occur nearly eight days every three months, and
- Age is another key factor. The most likely sufferers are age 30 to 49.
It’s also possible to put a dollar figure on your own company’s risk that’s more meaningful than the national estimate. A free migraine cost calculator – which takes into account company size, gender mix and age breakdown – is available here.
Migraines are a tailor-made topic for targeted educational mailings to high-risk employees, articles in your benefits newsletter and for inclusion in a disease/care management program.
The odds of success are good. Unlike other health issues, migraines are fairly easily treated. Education pieces can focus on recognizing common triggers for attacks:
- lack of food or sleep
- anxiety or stress, and
- hormonal changes for women.