Fighting the Flu in 2015

Staff Writer: Claudia Miklosik

How is it already October, Wolverine Nation? It seems like just yesterday we were scrambling for school supplies and getting schedule changes. These nuisances have been replaced by (mostly) fun fall activities like bonfires and haunted houses, pumpkin patches and corn mazes. Additionally, there is one not-so-fun thing that strolls in this time of year. It creeps up on unsuspecting students, has them devouring chicken noodle soup, and can spread faster than rumors around school.

If you haven’t caught up yet, we’re talking about the flu. Short for “influenza”, the flu is an illness that can range from mild to severe. It’s characterized by its sudden onset, a high fever, nausea, and muscle aches. While similar to the common cold, the flu is typically a more serious ailment. The season for the flu starts in October, so the time is right to start understanding, preparing for and preventing the illness.

Last year at Woodstock High School, 24 students were confirmed to have caught the flu, according to our school nurse, Mrs. Hyde. This number is a small percentage of Woodstock’s current student body of 2,208. Nurse Hyde notes however, that the actual number of cases may have been much higher. In fact, it is possible that upwards of 100 students had the flu last year but failed to report it.

To prevent the flu, the school nurse advocates that students adopt good hand washing techniques. Furthermore, as midterms peek there way from around the corner, students should take care to take it easy. Stress, even the short term kind, can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to influenza. Another option is getting the flu shot.

“Any percentage that protects you [from the flu] is worth it, even if it’s just five percent. Typically, the shot will decrease your risks for the flu by sixty or seventy percent,” Nurse Hyde said in a recent interview. Another mental note you should take: DO NOT COME TO SCHOOL WITH A FEVER. A fever means you are contagious, and while you were unfortunate enough to get infected, it does not mean you need to spread the flu to your neighbors in pre-calculus.

Woodstock’s own Dr. Hurter had a case of the flu a few years ago. The peppy and upbeat peer facilitation teacher says it was “a nightmare”. Influenza struck her suddenly and put her in the hospital for four nights. If you know Dr. Hurter, you know the confine of a hospital bed is no environment for her big personality.

After her experience, Dr. Hurter says, “I get a flu shot annually. In fact, I have one scheduled already.” Some places which offer flu shots include CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens or your family physician.

On the other hand, Coach Gahan, Woodstock’s newlywed peer leadership, psychology and sociology teacher, promotes ways alternative to the flu shot to avoid the flu. He has only had the flu once in his life, and gives the credit to diet, exercise and an all-around healthy lifestyle. Coach Gahan has never had the flu shot and does not plan to, even when told about Dr. Hurter’s experience. It is evident that Gahan has faith in the power of warding off illness through keeping your body in top-performing shape.

So while October rolls through, and the colder months make their appearance, please take care to do whatever method is right for you to prevent the flu. You may opt to take a holistic method like Coach Gahan, or the more mainstream route of getting a flu shot. Do something. As of the publication of this article, there have been zero reports to the attendance office of a flu case. Let’s keep it that way; you don’t want to be the first.

Woodstock senior Matthew Hannan is seen visiting the school clinic after his recent surgery. The clinic is located in the hall way coming up to the library. If you feel ill, be it the flu or something else, please get a pass from your teacher and visit Nurse Hyde.

Woodstock senior Matthew Hannan is seen visiting the school clinic after his recent surgery. The clinic is located in the hall way coming up to the library. If you feel ill, be it the flu or something else, please get a pass from your teacher and visit Nurse Hyde.

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