Businesses Experience Flu Blues - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Businesses Experience Flu Blues

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TULSA, Okla. -

If you feel sick, just imagine how companies are dealing with all of the challenges that come with flu season 2013. The Centers for Disease Control says flu season will cost companies 10.5 billion dollars in doctor and hospital visits.

At Hillcrest South Hospital, they've installed cough stations that have hand sanitizer, Kleenex and a mask for anyone who needs one.

The cough stations are just a first line of defense before patients walk into the emergency room and before employees get started at work.

There they have seen even the most dedicated workers calling in sick and the E. R. has doubled its normal patient load.

"We are just seeing a lot of our employees that typically never call in they are becoming sick this year because of the epidemic," said Donna Smith, chief nursing operator.

They've had to outsource for workers because patients need their own medical treatment.

The Ihloff Salon says the flu nearly stole Christmas, keeping customers home sick.  However, there are some customers who prefer to look good even when they don't feel good. And there are workers everywhere who don't want to lose their pay.

"We've had people admit it. I  have employees that come in and say 'I'm not feeling good but I'm  gonna stick it out,'  and we say, let's go ahead and make sure we take care of you and we take care of your guests, let's send you on home just to be safe," said Tracy Berryhill, manager.

Both the Ihloff Salon and Hillcrest South say they have outsourced for temporary employees, to make up for the sick employees.

The salon is hoping the flu peak passes, by February because Valentine's Day is a busy time for their customers.

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