Fatality of the flu

Now that flu season is beginning, rampant absences in school and hospitalization rates are bound to increase, causing awareness and preventive measures to be taken.

“Overall hospitalization rates (all ages) during 2017-2018 were the highest ever recorded in this surveillance system, breaking the previously recorded high recorded during 2014-2015,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Not only was there a sky-rocketing number of hospitalizations last flu season but also an immense amount of deaths were recorded.

“As of August 25, 2018, a total of 180 pediatric deaths had been reported during the 2017-2018 season,” according to the CDC. “This exceeds the previously highest number of flu-associated deaths in children reported during a regular flu season.”

This influenza took a major toll on students attending WHS last school year, impacting their academics and daily routine.

“I missed about a week of school and the amount of work I missed affected me and my grades for about a month, which made it really hard to do the [assigned work] when I [returned],” said Caroline Oates ‘21.

Because of the intensity of the flu, students are extra cautious in maintaining cleanliness, especially since it spreads rapidly.

“Personal hygiene plays an important role in not getting the flu,” said Juliana Marmentini ‘20. “Making sure you wash your hands, eat healthy and stay active keeps your body stronger.”

However, there are also many medical steps taken to prevent students from contracting the flu, ranging from nasal sprays to vaccinations.

“I personally get vaccinated every flu season and I try to take care of my sinus health by using flonase and saline spray every once in a while,” said Isabella Lake ‘21. “For the most part [it’s pretty effective, since] I [haven’t] gotten the flu in at least the last four years.”

While the vaccination effectiveness rates vary from year to year, receiving the immunization lowers the risk for developing the flu.

“Recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40 percent and 60 percent among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine,” stated the CDC.

While last year’s flu resulted in an immense amount of ill patients, hygiene and vaccination can only do so much.

“Unless you lock yourself away from everyone and everything, there is no foolproof strategy for dodging the flu completely,” wrote Hannah Nichols for Medical News Today. “That said, steps can be taken to minimize your exposure, build up your immunity and reduce your risk of infection.”

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