The Season for colds and flu is here


Martha Kelly Bone, Staff Writer

Season’s greetings… flu season, that is. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu season can start as early as October and can last until late May. Although the flu is more common in the winter months, students and staff could get the flu any time of the year. When a fast-spreading virus like the flu is going around, it is important to know what the flu is, the cause of the virus, and how to stay safe from the flu.

Students may have heard of a virus called the flu. Flu is a shorted way of saying influenza. When someone gets the flu, their respiratory system is being attacked by a variety of viral infections. These infections will cause runny nose and stiff muscles because the body is trying to fight all the infections. People everywhere can get influenza because it is so contagious. Influenza can be spread from person to person through the air, the touch of a contaminated doorknob, and even touching someone who has the virus.

The height of flu season is generally during the winter months of December and January. The virus occurs in the winter because the air is less humid, and people spend more time indoors. Spending more time indoors means being closer to others who might have the virus. This year flu season started in late October and early November which caused the season to be worse than other years. Dr. Kyle Brothers, University of Louisville Pediatrician, said, “It looks like the flu started slightly earlier than usual this year, and a lot of people got the flu at the same time. So, this made the flu season (so far) worse than the last couple of years.”

Influenza is spread when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes which produces droplets that travel throughout the air and rest on desks, doorknobs, and even computer keyboards. The flu is easily spread because influenza germs can live on a surface for several hours. The virus infects the nose and throat, causing runny noses and sneezing. Flu symptoms occur 1-2 days after a person contracts the virus.  Each year the virus is different, but there are ways to change the outcome.

Contracting the virus can take students out of school for a few days to a week. Some symptoms of the flu are sneezing, sore throat and stuffy nose. When it comes to preventing the flu Dr. Amy Heisel, St. Elizabeth Pediatrics, said, “The flu vaccine, wearing masks if you have the flu or a cough, staying home from work or school if you have the flu, so you do not spread it can help prevent influenza.” There are home remedies that can help prevent spreading the virus. One way to help spread the virus is to wash your hands thoroughly and avoid crowds such as school and work. Getting enough sleep also helps because it lets the immune system fight the infection. Drinking plenty of liquids will help prevent dehydration.

This year a new virus is causing some concern.  In Wuhan, China, a deadly virus called the coronavirus has taken the lives of over 1,300 people. A large group of viruses found among different species of animals is what makes up the coronavirus. It is rare that the virus has spread from animal to person and now from person to person. From what doctors have gathered the symptoms of a person who has the virus include fever, headaches and other flu-like symptoms. There is no way to prevent the coronavirus, and it primarily affects the upper respiratory and gastrointestinal tract of the patient. People who have contracted the virus may suffer from an inflammatory response. There have been two other viruses like the coronavirus. MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was passed by camels and causes severe respiratory problems and SARS of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome was thought to be have been passed by civet cats and ten percent of people who got it died. The coronavirus has made its way to the United States, but the virus has been contained.

According to The New York Times, The totals for the Coronavirus have climbed to 48,206, and it has claimed 1,310 lives. These numbers are constantly changing and new ways to diagnose the virus are being considered.  The problem that exists is that some people with the disease will not come forward because they afraid they will be taken from their home and put isolation areas.  It is hard to get them to come forward in China, so health care workers are going to them in the villages and towns.

This year has proven to be a difficult one for middle school.  For the past two weeks the high number of absences have been attributed to a stomach virus that attacked most of the cast and crew of the musical, Oliver, and the Flu.  Currently, there are about 15 cases of confirmed flu, but there are others that might have it, but they have not had the test.  Either way, over 78 kids were out sick on Wednesday, February 11.  The Faculty is also getting sick.  Mr. Michael Lipscomb missed several days due to the flu.

The best way to avoid getting sick is to keep washing your hands, don’t drink after anyone, no kissing and drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated.