Fighting Off the Flu This Season

Advice on how to prevent catching the spiraling epidemic

Absences are on the rise and Carol Begley, attendance officer, says the flu is partially to blame.

Victims of the flu say this year’s virus is especially rough. Most of the faculty and students that have missed school were typically sick for five to ten days.

“I was sick for about a week and a half. It’s the first time I have ever had the flu.” Assistant Principal Mark Malloy said.

Agriculture teacher Jeb Early also fell victim to the flu.

“I was sick for about five days, and I cured my illness with lots of medication,” Early said.

General flu symptoms usually include the following: achiness, extreme fatigue, congestion, runny and or stuffy noses, fevers and headaches. Some cases can even involve nausea, which can lead to vomiting.

“I had a sore throat, a cough, my eyes were very watery, stuffy nose, then runny nose, headaches.” Malloy said.

Freshman Ethan Hodges had similar symptoms.

“I had a sore throat and aches,” Hodges said. School nurses monitor absences due to the flu.

“Nurses are to notify us if there are concentrations of absences in any of classes and if the absentee rate is above the normal ten percent mark,” Pam Trude, school health coordinator said. “If it hits this level I contact the Health Department and we investigate and decide what approach we will take.”

Experts say the best defense is good hygiene. According to the Virginia Health Department, children and teens should avoid touching their eyes, noses and mouths.

“The biggest defense against the flu is to get your flu shot,” Trude said. “It is never too late!”

There is debate about whether or not the flu shot is effective, the CDC says it is the best protection to help fight the flu.

“I get the flu shot every single year,” junior Connor Baker said. “I have only gotten the flu once in my life, and that was during the summer a couple years ago. ”

Malloy did not get his flu shot this year.

“I will next year,” Malloy said. “I really didn’t decide against getting the flu shot, I just never made the time to go and get the shot.”

Hodges never gets a flu shot. “I usually don’t get the flu,” Hodges said. “However, this year’s cases were just so bad that I finally caught it.”

Trude added, the best way to prevent the flu is to wash your hands often and cough or sneeze into your sleeve.

School nurse Lorita Brown added, “students should be staying home when they are sick to prevent spreading their illness around campus.”

Those who have had the flu say that people should not wait to go to the doctor if they have flu symptoms.

“If you start medication early, it makes it much easier to get over.” “Don’t wait too long before you go to the doctor,” Malloy said. “Follow the advice from the doctor.”