Flu season

Crystal Ren, Staff Writer

Coughing, sniffling, red-nosed students have been abundant in the halls and classrooms during this first month of 2013.  The flu season which has been reported to be more severe this winter, is affecting people throughout the country, and students at Schreiber are no exception.

The flu advisory report for the last week of December and the first week of January released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggested that 49 states have widespread influenza activity and 27 states and New York City have reported high levels of influenza-like-illness.  There have been 3,710 hospitalizations associated with laboratory-confirmed flu virus and 20 pediatric deaths reported during this season.  On Jan.  11, federal health officials reported that deaths have reached the level of an epidemic.

Students at Schreiber have been affected by the flu as well.  Students who are not sick enough to stay home from the beginning of the day do sometimes end up going home by the end of the day.

“A lot of children have been going home sick in the middle of the day, lately,” said school nurse Ms. Maria Hernandez .  “This does seem to be disruptive for them to leave school early.  I’m mostly seeing flu-like symptoms.”

Students have missed class and exams before and after the break due to illnesses.

“Being sick is really irritating and sets you back in schoolwork quite a bit.  If I’m really sick, my work in school will be affected,” says sophomore Sabina Unni.

This kind of absenteeism affects each person differently.

“There’s always one or two students in each class who end up missing a few days.  Some lag behind in schoolwork and struggle initially because they miss so many notes, but most are able to catch up,” said Spanish teacher Ms. Evelyn Joseph.

Those who are concerned are taking precautions to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to their peers and family members.

“Sick people don’t bother me but I get sick really easily so to keep from getting sick, I’m washing my hands more frequently,” said senior Andrew Kim.

Others try to stay healthy in different ways.

“I wear more layers to keep myself warm, including scarves and hats.  I also keep myself hydrated with hot drinks,” says sophomore Anan Rayn.

This flu-like disease is very widespread and not just restricted to schools.

“The flu has been spreading like wildfire, everyone in my family had it,” said sophomore Rachel Ellerson.

Officials from the CDC have strongly recommended people to get flu shots.  Vaccines have been 62 percent effective this year according to a preliminary study.  The vaccine is considered moderately effective this year.