Students take precautions as flu season arrives early


As she works on her computer, nurse Shelley Ashton makes notes for her records on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022. Photo by Nikki Basaldu, 12

Students and staff are helping to limit the spread of the flu in schools and increase student health during the flu season.

“When the flu season ramps up, we are likely to see more absences and faculty alike,” nurse Shelley Ashton said. “A lot of people do get immunized, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will remain free of the virus. Anyone who is symptomatic with fever must be kept or sent home due to how easily the virus can spread.”

Flu can spread to classrooms, which could infect students and teachers along with their families.

“I will give the students hand sanitizer and tissue,” pre-calculus teacher Keely Dell said. “If I saw a sick student, I would send that student to the nurse. Then they will be sent home and come back when they feel better.”

As influenza spreads more around the classrooms, freshman Jaydien Dennis said students should consider getting the flu vaccine to limit the number of students who get the flu.

“I will get the flu shot,” Dennis said. “If ever got the flu, I would get a flu shot, then wear a mask just in case one of my family members get the flu. I would also wash my hands and get lots of rest of that I can feel better faster.”

Though the flu shot isn’t mandatory, there are dangers to not getting one Ashton said.

“Students won’t be required to wear a mask,” Ashton said. “It is a generally good idea to wear a mask because if you don’t you will increase your chances on getting the flu. It is said that the flu season this year will be super bad so students will have to be extra careful during this year’s flu season.”

As the flu has come early than experts expected for Fall 2022, Fresenius Medical Care physician Natasha Atkins said many are being impacted by the illness.

“There is typically a similar time period when the cases start to multiply, but this year it’s come earlier than I thought,” Atkins said. “This time of year, we give flu shots and warn patients about things such as washing their hands and cleaning their surfaces. It’s big for us to inform them of the proper ways to cough and sneeze to limit the spread, and how vital it is to be cautious about things they see.”  

Junior Mattias Leach was one of the early contractors of the flu, and he said it took him out of several football games this season. He said he’s still feeling the effects weeks after initially catching the virus. 

“It’s been hard dealing with the flu so early in the season,” Leach said. “We’re more talented this year than any other year this school has been open, and I know if the flu didn’t take me out for three weeks, then this season could be going different. It’s really hard thinking about it, but I know I have next year to set the tone.”  

Although the flu has arrived earlier than expected, mother Michi Atkins has been prepared for it 

“The flu always comes around this time of year, and I’m always ready for it,” Atkins said. “It comes strong every year, but some years are hit stronger by it than other ones. This year has been a surprise for me, but I am ready for it year-round every year.”