Every year, about 200,000 Americans are hospitalized for flu-like symptoms according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In addition to sickening projections for the upcoming season, the flu is materializing into a serious issue.
One of the reasons why this number is so high is because there’s not much to do to make the flu go away, since antibiotics and other medicines don’t get rid of the flu.
“The only way to get rid of the flu is lots of rest. Some think that you need to take medication right away, but that’s not true,” said nurse Therese Beilsmith. “You can use ibuprofen to relieve the pain, but nothing helps get rid of it. It’s also important to stay hydrated because you lose your appetite and vomit a lot. This can be done by drinking clear drinks and eating soups.”
However, there are steps people may take to prevent them from getting the flu in the first place.
“I think most people would benefit from getting a flu vaccine every year,” said science teacher Dr. William Bowman.
Most students would like to receive vaccinations, but their busy high school schedules make it difficult.
“I don’t always get a shot mainly because it’s an issue of time; it’s just not as convenient as it used to be,” said sophomore Mikenna Ham.
Another reason that people don’t receive a flu shot is because of the misconception that they’re ineffective. This notion is believed to be true because it’s possible, but very unlikely, to receive a shot but still catch the flu.
“The reason that the flu shot isn’t 100 percent successful is because scientists have to project which version of the flu will hit that year, and sometimes another strain can get caught,” said Beilsmith.
At the beginning of each flu season, scientists create a small sample of the projected flu strain to put in the vaccine.
“The flu shot either has an insinuated virus, a virus that has been weakened somehow, or a virus that is not infectious. When you inject the virus into the body, the body’s immune system recognizes it as being foreign and mounts an attack against it,” said Dr. Bowman.
Because of the attributes of the flu shot, it’s possible to catch an alternative strain of the flu. To rid America of the inconvenience of getting a flu shot, there are methods available to see if it’s worth getting a shot.
“In years that they guess wrong, and the vaccine doesn’t match the predominant virus that’s out there, you’re safe to skip it. To see what flu is projected to hit versus the vaccine that’s being given out, you can check the CDC website,” said Dr. Bowman.
If the strain of flu that is being caught is the same as the strain that is being fought by the vaccine, there is little reason to not get a shot.
Also, to assist student’s busy schedules, North is hosting a free flu shot clinic on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
“If North provides a flu shot, I would definitely go. It’s just so much easier if it is provided to me,” said Ham.