Flu Season. Two of the more common words you hear around the upper school this time of year. According to the always helpful WebMd, the flu is an extremely contagious respiratory illness, caused by influenza, which is a nasty viral infection. The flu is typically identified by some very uncomfortable symptoms, including but not limited to a cough, a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches, and exhaustion. Your average upper schooler who is unlucky enough to contract this nasty bug would normally recover in a week or two, however the severity and strain of flu can differ from year to year.
Since October, it is estimated that there are 51.4 hospitalizations for the flu per 100,000 people in the United States. The percentage of deaths has increased to 9.7% due to pneumonia and influenza. Nationally, the percentage of people testing positive for influenza viruses was 26.1%.. But the flu is nothing to joke about. Although it is technically just a scarier version of your common cold, one can see that the statistics don’t lie. The flu is nothing to joke about, as I’m sure some of the unfortunate upper schoolers can tell you. Of course, the statistics shown above are not for everyone. While your chances of contracting the flu are higher this time of year, there are still some easy changes you can make to reduce your risk and the risk of others.
For starters, avoid close contact with your friends, especially if you’ve seen them coughing or sniffling. Next, wash your hands often. Purell works well too, just as long as you’re taking measures to keep your hands clean. And then of course, the things you should be trying to do all the time, not just flu season; getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy diet. And by all means, please do not come to school if you are sick! Your teachers will be happier if you have to do makeup work than get them sick.