The flu is hitting our area hard, according to the Floyd County Health Department. So much so, that Floyd County Schools Superintendent Danny Adkins made the call to cancel school.
While parents struggle with what to do with their kids while school is out, many are asking why this decision was made. After all, it’s not like they can skip work if the bug is creeping around their workplace.
According the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza, both strains A and B, are highly-contagious viruses. People with flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away. Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. The CDC said these droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. A person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching his or her mouth, nose or eyes.
People with flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins, according to the Floyd County Health Department, and most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning a day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.
So that means there is a period of at least eight days from first infection that anyone with the flu can spread the disease. Now, in close-quarter conditions, such a as a school, a restaurant, at church, the store or anywhere a crowd can form, the potential is there for that illness to spread like wildfire.
That is why it is so critical that at the first hint of sickness, individuals should get a flu test and if confirmed positive — stay home.
Many of us live from paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford to take a week off because of illness. Business doors must remain open in all conditions, after all … or should they?
What many business owners may not calculate is the economic impact of the flu. When you have a workforce that is being impacted by illness, allowing one person to stay home and recover is more financially sound than demanding he or she come in and spread the flu to the rest of your workers. That is especially true since transmission times can overlap. What may have been just one week is now a month or more as people, returning to work before fully recovered, transmit the illness to the healthy or re-infect those recently returned.
That is why Adkins closed schools and is cleaning all public areas and frequently-touched surfaces, to cut this illness off at the knees before it impacts the district through continual low attendance and absences.
This is something that everyone with a business and workers needs to consider as well when someone calls in sick. Is the cost of one person’s work worth the economic impact on your bottom line? That is something everyone should consider.