Flu Season Goes from Bad to Worse


via Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez, US Air Force

A flu vaccine is administered to an airman at Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan.

Every year, people around the world get vaccinated during flu season in hopes of avoiding the flu’s signature fever, cough, and chills. This year’s flu strain, H3N2, usually causes widespread morbidity and absence from school and work. This year is no different, and as a result, the 2018 flu season has been labeled as “moderately severe.” Despite the fact that flu season is already well underway, experts still recommend vaccination as the most effective method of prevention this late into the season.

Pine Crest student Olivia Winnick made the decision, along with her family to get the flu shot, and said, “I’ve had the flu in the past, and I certainly don’t want to get it again, so I decided to go to my local pharmacy and get a flu shot. So far, I have not gotten sick, and I have my fingers crossed that I will be able to make it out of this flu season unscathed.” Many other Pine Crest students have not been as fortunate as Olivia and have contracted the virus. Tiana Brannan, a sophomore and an avid swimmer on the Pine Crest Swim team, described her experience with the flu and said “The flu is miserable. I am fortunate to be healthy again, and I hope everybody who has the flu recovers quickly.”

Pine Crest students are not the only ones bracing for this year’s flu season. Administration has been working hard to ensure that everyone is protected. On January 19th, administration sent out an email out to students and their families warning of the flu’s spread and providing the best practices to keep students healthy.

In the email, school nurse Ms. Fairbanks wrote, “Our housekeeping personnel continues to follow school and classroom cleaning procedures diligently. We also encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs. Please help us by observing your child for any symptoms, and keeping them home if they become ill.” Furthermore, Mrs. Promnitz said, “We are advising students and parents when they call to stay home until all symptoms are gone, especially a fever. Students should not return to school until they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours. We’ve been sharing that message consistently with families. We’ve also spoken with teachers about wiping down door handles and desks and tables to stop the spread of germs and to also be really flexible with students when they’re coming back from being sick so that they have a chance to fully recover before they try to jump in with two feet right back into their school work.”

The CDC estimates that the flu generally kills about 12,000 people annually, and in a severe year, such as 2018, it can kill up to 56,000 people. Although it is a particularly bad flu season, these tips can help keep our community healthy, safe, and secure:

  1. If you contract the virus, stay home to prevent spreading the illness to others.
  2. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze.
  3. Wash your hands as often as possible.
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
  5. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Remember, it’s still not too late to get vaccinated.

Photo Source: Krystie Martinez