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Schools, businesses seeing too many empty seats due to the flu

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Updated: 1/11/2013 7:04 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- While the flu season is in its early stages here in southern Nevada it's creating a lot of empty space in offices and classrooms. Employees and kids have been out sick.

News 3's Sandra Gonzalez has more on how the flu is spreading and what is being done to fight it.

The best defense is staying away from people if possible, but sometime germs are spread unknowingly in classrooms and offices.

While flu season starts spreading across the Las Vegas Valley, some businesses and schools are starting to feel the impact with absences.

At Zappos in Henderson, employees are catching the flu and calling in sick. In the Human Resources area, most employees were at home on Friday, leaving empty chairs.

“Right now because there is still a lot of illness occurring here at the company, there are quite a few people who are out. We got five people on my team who are not here,” said Kathleen Joseph, Zappos.com Gladness Groupie.

And some of those who are left behind are feeling some symptoms, and may be next.

That’s why Zappos has set up wellness stations complete with hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes, trying to promote the prevention of germs spreading.

Cleaning your office space is very important too, especially if someone else might be using your computer or phone.

At Ruby Thomas Elementary School, the principal and teachers are encouraging children to wash their hands frequently, as the flu is starting to spread among students and the staff.

“We are teaching them how to cough doing the vampire cough, “Principal Dennis Kubala demonstrates, “…sneezes as well. We always tell them to cover up and try to use tissues and things like that to keep their hands clean.”

Some of his classes are down 20 percent because of illness and that could grow as the season continues. This week, a few teachers have already called in sick too.

“We have a lot of people in a tight space and what happens is they're starting to come into school with fevers, coughing, stomach issues or anything like that, well they're next to somebody else's child that may have not been exposed yet but we are spreading the germs if we don't deal with that issue right away,” Kubala said.

At Zappos this week, just at the Call Center, 78 people called in sick since Monday, and nearly 200 either left early or came in late because they weren’t feeling well.

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