Flu epidemic a major concern in 2018


Ciara Weller, Staff Writer

The flu, short for influenza, has been presenting major issues for the nation. A multitude of deaths have been recorded and countless seats have been left empty in schools as more and more students acquire the highly contagious viral infection. There are three categories into which the flu is being placed: A, B, and C. Categories A and B are the most serious of the three and people are most susceptible to them during the winter. Flu vaccines are specifically designed to target these types. Type C viruses are most responsible for minor respiratory illnesses.

The flu is usually self-diagnosable, sporting symptoms that include fever, chills, aching muscles, a cough, congestion, a runny nose, headaches, and fatigue. Sore throats, the discomfort of the chest, and swollen lymph nodes are also common to the flu. The feeling of having the flu is often described as being hit by a truck – it’s sudden. Plus, symptoms  often to catch on right from the beginning. But in some cases, adults and children can carry the contagious virus for days before feeling any symptoms at all, unknowingly spreading the sickness. The flu is still contagious even days after symptoms are shown.

The flu is extremely contagious and can be spread through the air. When those who are infected cough or sneeze, airborne droplets can land on healthy individuals or can be inhaled into the lungs. Surfaces touched by those infected become germ-ridden and also act to spread the sickness.

While it can be fatal, treatments are still available. Rest and fluids are required to help the body fight the infection plaguing it. Anti-inflammatory pain relievers can also help with symptoms of the flu. If caught early enough, a doctor may prescribe antiviral medications.

Flu shots seriously reduce the chances of getting the flu, although it has been reported that even those who get the shot can still develop the flu. Avoiding close contact with those infected also reduces the chance of developing the flu. Those who are sick are encouraged to stay home and rest, avoiding contact with others until they are fever free for 24 hours. Covering your mouth and properly disposing of tissues are imperative when it comes to containing germs. Both those infected and those who are healthy should be reminded to wash their hands with soap and water, and to avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth. Schools, along with any workplace, should work to keep their students healthy and germ-free by cleaning door handles, desks, and any other surfaces that could potentially be germ-infested.