Flu Season in Full Swing, Impacts Business and Schools

Published 01/29 2014 06:13PM

Updated 01/30 2014 08:49AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Springfield-Greene County Health Department says the number of flu cases is peaking now through February. 

Although several local businesses say the flu has not been a hinderance on their operations, Nixa teachers and students are feeling the impacts of flu season.

Several local businesses, like Bass Pro Shops, several local restaurants, and PFI western store, say cases of the flu are few and far between.

"We're very lucky here because we offer all of our employees flu shots. All of our cashiers, they typically wipe down the counters in the morning and night," explains PFI Western Store Director of Communications Cortney Little.

Nixa school teachers and staff are also taking similar precautions.  "Our teachers have been doing a great job of sanitizing their classroom.  Our custodians are busy at night doing extra sanitizing," explains Jennifer King, John Thomas School of Discovery Nurse. 

Despite these measures, flu numbers continue to climb in Nixa schools.    

"From last week to this week we had a 75 percent increase in what was diagnosed as the flu," says King. 

She is seeing nearly double the amount of students walk through her door now, and she expects this to continue through the end of flu season.

"It's very tough on the teachers.  If they have a large number of kids gone for the day it's hard to start a new subject or teach a new concept because they'll have to turn around and when everyone's back they'll have to kind of start all over again," explains King.

"There's a lot of catchup that has to take place on the child's behalf," adds John Thomas School of Discovery third grade teacher, Beth Neathery.

King says the teachers seem to be getting hit harder than the kids.

"That's what's going on nationwide.  The 25 to 40 age group range is being hit harder with the flu," says King. "Kids seem to bounce back a little quicker but with teachers it takes a little longer for them to be able to come back as an adult," adds Neathery.

Meanwhile, teachers and nurses continue advocating proper hand washing, nutrition, rest, and sanitizing until flu season is over. 

"Toward the end of February and the first part of March is when the flu stuff will start to dissipate," says King.

The Centers for Disease Control says this year's number of flu cases is what they would expect for a typical flu season.  Health officials say because the flu numbers are expected to stay high through February, it's a good idea to know the treatment and prevention tips.  Those can be found here.

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