This years flu epidemic is far from over, get vaccinated!


Americans all over are experiencing flu symptoms. Taking precautions to avoid getting the flu is extremely important. “The flu is really bad this year. Stay clear of sick people, stay hydrated and get lots of sleep,” said Rachael Brown ‘20.

Leila Caplan, Staff Writer

Kyle Baughman, a healthy 21-year-old from Pennsylvania, got home from work one night feeling out of sorts. He the flu, and because he was not vaccinated, he died a few days later.

Baughman went into organ failure after contracting the flu, says Jamie Ducharme of TIME magazine. The flu has not yet reached its peak in many states, meaning this year’s flu epidemic is far from over, making it imperative to still get vaccinated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this year already, approximately 53 children and teenagers have died of flu. “I have never seen a flu season this serious. Pediatricians are alarmed about the severity of recent cases and I urge families to be vaccinated against influenza,” said Dr. Wes Stubblefield, President of the Alabama Chapter at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Currently, about 7.1% of Americans are seeking treatment for flu related symptoms.  Many flu patients also have underlying issues, such as heart problems, or respiratory issues. The young and elderly are at a higher risk of flu, as their immune systems do not function as well against the virus.

The CDC estimates that every year since 2010, between 140,000 and 710,000 reported hospitalizations are caused by the flu. During particularly bad years, such as this one, up to 56,000 people are killed, says Donald Mcneil Jr of the New York Times.

In order to decrease these frightening numbers, students need to consider vaccination . Many are reluctant to get vaccinated this year, as the vaccine is only about 30% effective against this year’s different flu strains. Even so, Carolyn Dolfini ‘20, was vaccinated “because the flu is dangerous” she said. Although the vaccine’s effectiveness is limited, it can still keep students safe, or at least decrease the symptoms if a student contracts the flu. Dolfini also said she will get vaccinated next year, even though the vaccine is never 100% effective.

Many who believe they should not receive a vaccine because the flu is almost over might consider thinking again. Maddy Giaconia ‘20, recently caught the flu. “I just forgot [to get vaccinated] this year,” she said. She then went on to experience flu symptoms such as lightheadedness, soreness, heat flashes and migraines. Students should be seen by their doctor if they experience any of these symptoms. Antiviral medication can also be administered in order to reduce symptoms.

Students should also  keep in mind that it takes about two weeks to form antibodies for the flu after vaccination. The earlier someone is vaccinated, the better.

As a safety precaution, students who have the flu should stay out of school. This significantly reduces the risk of infecting other students. “Fourteen students have had flu symptoms that we know of. Half were confirmed to have the flu at the doctors,” said Mrs. Fox Mcneil, one of HBHS’s nurses. Healthy students should wash their hands after touching objects such as doorknobs, keyboards and writing utensils that are not theirs. They should also stay away from sick, and recently sick, students. Hopefully, the flu epidemic will end before more students in Hollis and Brookline become sick.