ARDMORE, Okla. - Chances are you don't need us to tell you that the flu has been bad this year. As Robin Beal reports if you think it's worse than last year, doctors say you're probably right.
“Well we had a horrible season. This is the worst season in nine years.” Flu Type A and Flu Type B, its the gastrointestinal gauntlet that many of us have had to run through. It all adds up to a lot of sick people, missed work and missed school.
“I think it’s worse this year,” says Geneva Matlack, the assistant superintendent of schools in Ardmore. After years as an educator, she knows a thing or two about sick kids.
She says last week, 10% of the student body was home sick. “We’re just really striving to encourage parents to keep kids at home when they are ill, but so many times they’ll say, ‘oh I feel good,’ and they come and stay for a bit and we have to send them home.”
So why is it hitting everyone so hard in 2008? We went to Dr. Baker Fore for answers. “We probably didn’t get the immunization just right this year. Plus a lot of people got it in September. We started trying to get people to do this early and it lasts 3 to 4 months and the big push of the epidemic came after Christmas.”
Dr. Fore says around the holidays people trade more than just gifts, “they trade viruses.” But with it being almost March, shouldn’t we be done yet?
“We thought it maybe had peaked here, but it seems to be continuing on right at the moment.”
Ralph Hodges has been a pharmacist for 35 years. He says people just keep coming up to his counter, or pulling up to the window, seeking relief from the aches and pains and sore throats.
What’s a person to do?
“Keep well hydrated and get plenty of rest.”
“The good news is the flu epidemic is starting to wind down. When it is still out there, there are still people with the flu. When you get near an associate that has flu symptoms you should try to stay away. But we think this is just about over.”
So what can you do to stay healthy and keep your kids healthy? The educators I spoke with said they are taking extra special steps to wipe everything down in the classroom. One local school even brought in registered nurses to give hand-washing lessons.
Experts say wash your hands thoroughly as often as possible to keep from coming down with the bug.