The flu: that pesky virus that creeps around the hallways, lingers on clothes and invades homes during the chilly winter season. Whether North likes it or not, the long months of winter are slowly but surely approaching.
Before people begin to hole up at home with sweats, coffee and a fire, it is important to know the cold, hard facts about the flu and how to prevent it this winter.
Its true, high school’s are a home for hundreds of thousands of germs. Student’s winter routines consist of going to school and back. This puts people, both sick and not, in contact with 1,000 of others daily.
Growing, crawling, and multiplying on surfaces, germs eventually move onto their next prey, humans. Since North is filled with about 1,500 people, it is a high risk area for contracting the flu.
Registered nurse Valerie Thompson and head of the school’s clinic, has many tips on how to stay healthy this winter.
“The biggest thing is to wash your hands. I can’t stress it enough, wash them!” Thompson says.
Think hard about what one touches in a single day at school. Desks, pencils, toilets, car doors, maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend’s hand, all contain millions of germs. If students don’t wash their hands, those germs can be ingested by the body.
Sitting at the family dinner table, students can be sharing germs picked up at school, thus increasing the risk of getting sick with the flu.
“I always bring a small case of hand sanitizer wherever I go. That way my hands are always as clean as possible,” Senior Tristan Salemi said.
Seniors Carrie McCaffery and Ciera Rogers say that being sick is a very hard thing to deal while balancing high school. “Coughing into my sleeve and using tissues are things I do all winter long to keep from getting sick.” McCaffery said.
“Although it is hard, if my friends are sick I stay away from them,” Rogers said.
Thompson also said it takes more than staying away from germs to be healthy and flu-free this winter. People need to exercise daily, eat healthy and get enough sleep.
She said mere avoidance of germs will do nothing to the immune system, if one isn’t treating the body properly.
“Flu shots are also crucial in order not to get sick. We encourage students and staff to go and get them,” Thompson said.
Flu shots are available at almost all local pharmacies and doctors offices. The shot gives a tiny dose of the flu, small enough not to get one really sick but big enough to build immunity to it. This little dose slowly builds up the body’s immunity to the virus so the immune system can fight off flu germs. The cost of these can vary depending on various insurance companies.
But what if one already has the flu? What if one is already buried deep under tissues, cough drops and thermometers, even while reading this? Well, there is good news. There are many ways to get on the track to a fast recovery this winter.
Lori Colabella, a registered nurse of 22 years at Trinity West Medical Center in Steubenville, OH, said there are lots of ways to help take down the flu, if one has already been infected.
“Natural medicine, vitamin C, and fluids, like water, can help you so much,” Colabella said.
Herbal treatments, such as green tea, elderberry tea and all-natural gingerbread help the body heal itself and boost natural immunity to bacteria.
Vitamin C strengthens the body, while fighting off other harmful germs. Water keeps one hydrated and less likely to be re-infected.
“Western medicine is a blessing as well. A prescription can make a world of a difference. The flu is best attacked when the two work together in combination,” Colabella said.
As high school students, sometimes it’s hard to worry about one’s health, especially during the seemingly endless winter season.
After a long day at school, sometimes it seems more appealing to curl up with a book and a blanket than worry about getting a flu shot or exercising and eating balanced meals.
But fight the good fight against the flu, Westerville North. Take precautions and stay healthy because the flu won’t stop for anybody this season.