Take precautions against sickness

Illness has been running rampant in the US, and it’s important to protect yourself.

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By Nadia Sanburn, Reporter

Many people are affected by the flu or other winter-related illnesses.

If you’ve got a stuffy nose, are short of breath, or are feeling achy, there’s a chance you’ve gotten the flu. About 10 percent of the population gets the flu every year and adults average two to four colds each year, according to Scientific American.

This year, it’s even more intense. The New York Times reports that this flu season is already considered “moderately severe.” Every state but Hawaii has reported that the flu is spreading in their states.

It’s important to take the necessary precautions to not spread or get illness, for your sake and others. You can spread the flu to someone 6 feet away from you, and you can infect someone a day before showing symptoms, and a week after getting sick.

Cori Green, a nurse at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, says that winter illness fills the hospital where she works.

“[Sickness] increases quite a bit,” she said. “I have a unit of 28 beds, and during the winter months they’re usually full.”

One way she recommends staying healthy is an easy and basic tip: wash your hands.

Getting sick also requires you to miss school.

“It takes usually seven days [to recover],” Green said. “If you have a fever, or just feel really short of breath and can’t stop coughing, you should probably stay home.”

Freshman Giovanni Ventello has gotten the flu before.

“I missed about a week total [of school] last year,” he said.

He had about an hour or two of homework for every day he missed. Catching up is a struggle for some high schoolers, often overwhelmed by the workload.

Carol Casteel, the school nurse at LHS, says a lot more kids come in sick during winter.

“I still see colds, sore throats, fever. It’s really important for everyone to get a flu shot.” She said. “People do die from the flu.”

There are many places to get a flu shot, but some are more accessible or affordable.

“Walgreens walk-in clinic is free, with insurance, and if not, you can go to the health department,” Green said. “I give shots every day.”

Green highly recommends getting a flu shot, because they can prevent worse strains of the flu.

When her patient is scared of needles, she just tells them to look away.

“Let them know that if they get the flu, they’re going to get more shots than one,” she said.