Flu, sick workers slam workplace productivity

Flu outbreaks cost the nation’s employers $10.4 billion annually in hospitalizations and outpatient visits, studies show.

BY PAULA BURKES Published: January 13, 2013
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Ron Wallace, general education development instructor at The United Urban Indian Council in Oklahoma City, isn’t surprised that this flu season is being called the worst in a decade.

In his five-person...

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Oklahoma flu

By the numbers

6: Oklahomans died recently of complications from the flu

92 were hospitalized last week with the flu

345: Total hospitalizations this flu season

8: Total deaths for this flu season

$10.4 billion: Annual national cost to employers in hospitalizations, outpatient visits

SOURCES: The Oklahoma State Health Department

and the Centers for Disease Control

Tips to avoid catching the flu

•Allow sick workers to stay home without fear of losing their jobs.

•Avoid meetings; consider conference calls or video conferences instead.

•Encourage telecommuting.

•Wash hands frequently and keep them away from your face.

•Regularly wipe down doorknobs, phones, computers and other surfaces with disinfectant wipes.

•Replace toothbrushes every few months, including at the onset and end of a cold or flu, avoid proximity with other brushes, and sterilize brushes once or twice a week in the dishwasher or in the microwave in two inches of water for three minutes.

SOURCES: Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., Delta Dental of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department

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