By Emily Kies, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Even though the recent norovirus outbreak at St. Charles East High School grabbed national headlines, the flu also has been a concern this season. It’s important to remember that we are not out of the woods yet as far as the flu is concerned. The Kane County Health Department reports a late spike in flu numbers and patients who have tested positive for either the ‘A’ or ‘B’ strain this year.
As the mom of a daughter who recently had the B strain, I can tell you that it hits hard and fast. We saw the majority of the following symptoms in our house during our week of self-imposed quarantine.
|Symptoms of the Flu|
|People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
● fever* or feeling feverish/chills
● sore throat
● runny or stuffy nose
● muscle or body aches
● fatigue (very tired)
● Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
It’s important to remember that the flu will impact everyone differently, and has varying degrees of severity depending on a lot of factors. The Kane County Health Department states:
“Flu is unpredictable and how severe it is can vary widely from one season to the next depending on many things, including:
● what flu viruses are spreading
● how much flu vaccine is available
● when vaccine is available
● how many people get vaccinated
● how well the flu vaccine is matched to flu viruses
that are causing illness
Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. In the United States, thousands of healthy adults and children have to visit the doctor or are hospitalized from flu complications each year and some die. Studies going back 30 years to 1976 show that seasonal flu-related deaths have ranged from about 3,000 people to 49,000 people. Studies going back to 1976 have found that flu-related deaths ranged from a low of 4,700 to a high of 56,600 (average 25,500).
Hopefully we will start to see the downward shift soon and make our way out of flu season, but until then, remember to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Do your best to avoid contact with sick people, and if you do get sick stay home.