Winter illness lingers despite predictions of an early spring

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Getting her heart rate checked by the nurse, Senior Koreyana Webb makes sure that her vital signs are normal before heading to her next class. Many students started taking extra precautions to stay healthy this month after flu symptoms began causing students to feel under the weather. “I have tried my best not to get sick, and I’m very careful of what I touch and who coughs around me,” Webb said.

Romello Ferrell, Staff Writer

With spring on the horizon and famous Pennsylvania groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicting an end to winter, students are already gearing up for Spring Break on March 23.

While many are anticipating warmer weather, the cold weather has illness lingering, with many students missing school due to Influenza.

A contagious respiratory illness, Influenza infects the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated number of 10,000 people have died from the flu so far in 2020, and at least 78 of them were children. The flu causes up to 5 million cases of severe illness globally and kills up to 650,000 people annually. Two different flu strains are widespread, and there are twice as many pediatric flu deaths so far this year than at the same time last year.

Anyone can contract the illness, even if the person is healthy. A person might get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. Experts believe that the flu is spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with it cough, sneeze, or talk. Symptoms include sore throat, headaches, muscle aches, runny or stuffy nose, and fatigue. A fever can play a big part of the symptoms, but not everyone will have one. The best way to avoid the illness is getting the flu shot and staying at least 3 feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

While the flu is relatively common, a new outbreak has emerged in the news: the Coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus can cause pneumonia, and those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure.

The first cases were detected in central China in December 2019 but, unfortunately, it is continuing to expand in the eastern hemisphere of the world and has affected a few American citizens in the west. According to the CDC, the United States reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with this virus on January 30, 2020.

The best ways to avoid contracting any illness is to wash your hands frequently, practice respiratory hygiene, and practice general hygiene measures when around animals and sick persons.