Flu keeps nearly one fourth of students home from VCSC middle school


Flu season is supposed to be nearing the end but experts say the number of cases is on the rise.
Students at Vigo County Schools have been feeling the effects of flu season.
Last Friday more than 20 percent of Honey Creek Middle School’s student body was out due to sickness.
The good news for Honey Creek Middle School is that they are feeling better. On Monday they had 18 percent of their students out and as of Tuesday that number is down to 12 percent.
Unfortunately, the average flu numbers are not seeing that same decrease.
The 2017-2018 flu season was one of the most severe that the United States had seen in years.
Though the 2019 flu season is far from over, Vigo County Health Department Registered Nurse, Chelsea Willis is optimistic, “since it is not reported we don’t see everyone’s reports. But from what we have seen it is increased some but it doesn’t seem to be as severe as it was last year.”

The latest report from the CDC shows that nearly the entire United States is classified under a wide spread flu outbreak.

The Indiana State Department of Health reports that as of March 2nd, there were 53 flu related deaths this flu season, most of those being 65 years or older
And if you feel like your house hold is getting the flu later than usual this year you are probably right.

“Usually there is two waves, the first and then a second that happens after. Usually if the first one is light the second one will be heavier. So last year it seemed to be the first one was the hard hitter and this year it seems the second one is going to be,” says Willis.

Indiana has seen three school-wide outbreaks this season, Honey Creek Middle School now being added to that list as they are now working with the state on the outbreak.

“Usually once they hit a threshold, which is usually 21 percent of the student body, they are to report so we can help sort through everything,” says Willis.

A big concern in 2018 was the effectiveness of the flu vaccine but numbers are showing that this years vaccine provided better protection from the strongest strain.

“It does seem that it is being covered better. If they are getting the flu and they have had the shot it is only lasting a few days as compared to the week or more it can last without it,” says Willis.

Peak flu season is expected to last through the end of March but people may still be seeing flu activity through May.

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