Preventing influenza in the work place


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Reported by: Brittany Jeffers
Updated: 1/03/2013 10:01 am Published: 1/02/2013 9:27 pm


Did you drag yourself to work after the holidays despite feeling under weather?

Dozens of people in Tulsa County have been hospitalized with influenza and now many employers are helping employees to focus on their health.

Amy Bates is the owner of Merry Maids in Tulsa and says one case of influenza can cause a domino effect.

“We are in a unique situation where we are going into home where people may be sick,” said Bates.

Bates has more than 30 employees that she worries about on a daily basis and she says maintaining a healthy work environment is imperative. She encourages employees to wear latex gloves and masks while cleaning homes to prevent the spread of germs, keeps fruit with vitamin c in the break room and offers her employees free flu shots to help stave off illness.

“Most of our staff, unless they have a health issue, goes ahead and gets the flu shot,” said Bates.

Dr. Ken Muckala with Harvard Family Physicians says the flu shot is the best safety guard to have this time of the year. Dr. Muckala says that over the past several weeks he has seen an increase in viral upper respiratory infections and influenza.

“We are seeing more of it,” said Dr. Muckala, “Primarily influenza A or a variant of influenza A.”

Extra precautionary health measures are instituted at His Vision for Children in South Tulsa. Staff and health care providers are encouraged to receive influenza immunizations.

“We are right in the faces of those little kiddos checking them every day so it’s very important that we have a flu shot,” said optometrists Dr. Kathleen Elliott.

Dr. Elliott tells FOX23 she noticed a spike in pediatric cancellations due to influenza about a week before Christmas.
“We had 30 percent of patients cancel and reschedule,” said Dr. Elliott.

Dr. Elliott says she and other doctors focus on making their health a priority by washing their hands frequently and taking vitamins.

Both Bates and Dr. Elliott tell FOX23 they maintain a “fever policy”. If an employee has a fever or just doesn’t feel well, they are encouraged to call in sick and rest.

The CDC recommends all people 6 months of age and older should get flu vaccine.

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