September 22, 2009

Swine Flu, Anyone?

Do you think you'll catch the swine flu this year? It's a bit hard to imagine how the virus WON'T spread when you cram over two thousand students with poor sanitary habits into a single building, and they spend six hours with each other in close proximity.

At least one of our staff members has already contracted and recovered from the virus. In the first two weeks of school, a larger than expected number of students are showing flu-like symptoms. The school nurse has a mandate from the state department of health to send home anyone showing these symptoms. Sick students and staff are required to stay home for 24 hours after their fevers break, which usually takes five days.

Some say that these measures are overreactions to an overhyped problem. It's true that the H1N1 virus in its current form is relatively harmless, but it's still smart to take precautions. We might not be able to stop the spread of the virus, but we should do anything we can to at least slow it down
One of the high schools in our state already has 20% of the student population home with flu symptoms, and there are other districts with very high absence rates as well.

My theory is that it's a foregone conclusion that a large population of students and staff will probably contract the virus sometime throughout the year and that we should just accept it. Vaccines should be available in my state around mid-October. Swine flu is a not a reason for panic, but we shouldn't get complacent, either.

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