Flu Season Strikes the Nation


via Creative Commons

The 2018 flu season has wreaked havoc across the nation, with dozens of deaths reported.

Emily Weinstein, Online Sports Editor

The overwhelming flu season this year has been responsible for dozens of deaths and thousands of hospitalizations across the United States. The flu, short for influenza, is an extremely contagious respiratory infection that causes fever, cough, congestion and fatigue. Although young children and the elderly are more at risk for catching the virus, this season’s strain has manifested itself in more Americans than in any of the past five seasons. The flu has had quite the effect on Poly, as it seems everyday more students and teachers are out sick. The absences started in late fall and are expected to continue until the end of the flu season in early spring.

“My doctor told me I was the first case she had seen this year,” said sophomore Krish Chandran. “She said it was the first time she had seen anything like it in a while.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 7.7 percent of Americans have been affected by the flu this season, numbers that have not been seen since the 2009 swine flu pandemic. Right now, 9.1 percent of all U.S. deaths are caused by the flu in comparison to the average 6.9 percent of deaths due to influenza year round.

Although most places across the U.S. are prepared to handle the large number of infections, in certain places, such as Pennsylvania and South Carolina, some patients have been turned away due to lack of space. Pharmacies have been reporting a lack of antiviral medications and vaccines, but suppliers have been working tirelessly to ensure medical facilities are able to treat the ill and protect the healthy.

Despite the evidence that the flu vaccine prevents a large number of recipients from catching the flu, some still speculate about its effectiveness.

“I think the flu shot has something to do with everyone getting sick,” said sophomore Sydney Santo. “Every time I got the flu shot, I wound up getting the flu, and everytime I skipped the vaccine, I was fine.”

After getting the flu shot, the immune system takes a few weeks to build up an immunity to the virus. For this reason, doctors advise that it is better to get the shot earlier in the season to limit the chance of becoming sick. There is a still possibility, though, but the flu shot helps the body fight the infection. Even so, the chance of being a carrier decreases and with the shot, one is less likely to spread the virus to others.

With or without the vaccine, it is important to remember that when dealing with the flu, one needs plenty of rest and fluids to combat the infection.

“I lost six pounds, and I missed five days of school from the flu,” said sophomore Seamus McNulty before sarcastically adding, “If you’re looking for a weight loss plan, get the flu.”