Achoo! Flu season hits students hard

Erin Baquiran, Photography Editor

While this new year saw some parts of the country being walloped by ice storms, tornadoes, and flooding, California residents braced themselves for a different kind of seasonal affliction: the common cold.

“Colds and getting sick in general are more common in the winter months,” social science teacher Lana Gentry said. “That’s why you have more people coughing and blowing their nose because we are all in enclosed spaces.”

This season, the nasal spray vaccine was not given because it showed little to no effectiveness from 2013 to 2016. The fact that this version of the vaccine was discontinued might have made some students reluctant to get the flu vaccine and contributed to the spread of the sickness throughout schools.

The norovirus is an extremely contagious virus that has had many outbreaks this year and affected many schools, especially in Ohio where 10 schools were forced to close down for a week. This virus affects about 21 million people in the United States each year.

Bear Creek is not exempt from the effects of the flu season. The first quarter saw 9,609 absences, while in the second quarter there were 14,436 absences, with more students having their parents call into the attendance office.

“Students have been out for longer periods of time because their fevers are so high and parents have been calling in sick more for fevers up to 102 to 104 [degrees],” attendance technician Kathy Shelton said.

The Record reported that there have been four deaths in San Joaquin county this flu season for people under 65.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of this virus include fever, nausea, and stomach pain that develop 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to the virus. Vomiting, which can lead to dehydration, is very common with this virus.

There is no medicine specifically for the norovirus because it is a viral infection, not a bacteria. The most detrimental symptom of the virus is dehydration, which can be treated by drinking sports drinks and other drinks without caffeine or alcohol.

The viruses can be very contagious, so the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after having a fever and not attending school, work, or any social gatherings. Despite instructions from doctors, many students and teachers decide to still come to class so that they will not fall behind in work.

“Missing days when you’re sick and you’re a teacher is always a stressful thing,” history teacher Heather Blount said.

Many students are also reluctant to be absent from school in fear that they will fall behind quickly. However, viruses can be very contagious and going to school can cause more people to be sick and have a harder time during class.

“You should stay home when you’re sick because you end up doing more damage than is good for you,” Blount said.