The fall season is already here. As the leaves change and fall, it’s time for scarves, gloves and fears about the flu.
We hear the words, “the flu,” and think to ourselves that we won’t catch the illness, but that isn’t always true. Each year, schools see high rates of absences going into the fall and winter seasons. Last year, the swine flu hit Penn Manor students and teachers alike.
The flu or influenza can be deadly.
About 30,000 to 40,000 deaths occur each year in the United States due to flu, according to health officials and 300,000 to 500,000 deaths occur worldwide. The majority of flu-related deaths occur in people over the age of 65.
Many people are taking precautions this year and are getting vaccinated which is good advice, along with washing your hands and covering your cough.
“Definitely get the flu vaccine,” said senior Samantha McCrery. “I get it every year and so do my parents. It saves lives.”
While the flu vaccine is very important, being courteous to yourself and others is just as important.
“Wash your hands as often as you can and use the alcohol gels,” said Penn Manor High School nurse Anne Butterfield. “Stay away from sick people and cough into your elbow rather then your hand. Use plenty of tissues.
“It is best to get immunized,” Butterfield also explained. “The vaccine that is currently available covers you for H1N1 in addition to the other strains of flu. The vaccine is widely available.”
The previously free flu vaccine was offered to teachers this year for $10.
“You can get the vaccine almost anywhere. Most doctors offices offer it, as well as Weis, CVS, Walgreens, Target and Walmart,” McCrery explained. “Just look for the signs, they give out flu shots almost anywhere.”
Penn Manor Administrator, Eric Howe, is taking the illness seriously this year.
“I will definitely be getting the flu shot this year,” Howe said. “And students need to make sure that they are constantly washing their hands and covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze. I tell my kids the same thing at home.”
By Allana Herr