Mustangs urged to prepare for flu

Neely Yancey – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Flu season is here and families across the United States are strengthening their defenses against the virus. The seasonal influenza virus affects millions of Americans nationwide from November to March.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of the flu include: fever, cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, fatigue, and possible nausea and/or vomiting. The flu is highly contagious, and can take from several days to two weeks to get rid of.

Mustangs should be aware that the flu can be preventable, and should keep in mind a process of protection:

Get the flu shot. The CDC recommends getting the yearly flu shot as the first line of defense against the flu.

People with high risk complications such as pregnant women, people who are 65 years or older, or those who have immunosuppressive disorders should not hesitate. Because of these high risk complications, influenza can develop into more serious conditions, such as pneumonia.

“We highly recommend that all students get the flu shot this year,” said LRHS Clinic nurse Susan Wheeler, “It is important to protect yourself from the flu while indirectly protecting others.”

Daily prevention is key. Taking precautions during the day such as washing your hands, avoiding contact with the sick, while also avoiding touching your eyes, face, or mouth, will aide in protection from the flu.

Mustangs should be reminded that if they have the flu or any other contagious illness, they should not be at school. If you have a fever, the CDC recommends returning to work or school 24 hours after the fever is completely gone.

Tiffany McComas is a pediatric nurse at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. McComas comes in contact with many infectious diseases in the emergency room everyday.

“What most people don’t understand is that it is much harder for people with chronic illnesses or other immunosuppressive disorders to protect themselves or even recover from viruses such as the flu,” she said, “If you are sick, do not go to school. You will be putting other students at risk.”

McComas recommends that anyone who becomes sick should see a doctor who will provide medicine and a note to accommodate for absences.

If you get the flu, see a doctor. Antiviral drugs have been proven to be effective if taken two days after getting the flu. Drugs such as Tamiflu will not necessarily cure the flu, but it will shorten the duration of your illness. Contact with others should also be avoided.

Flu season can be very inconvenient to most, but if proper precautions are taken, the chances of contracting the virus can be slim to none.