Flu Wreaks Havoc on Hanover High

You may have noticed that classrooms have been a bit empty lately–missing both students and teachers. The main culprit in this is the flu, which has been making the rounds at HHS.

Many doctors, namely in the Upper Valley, have attested that this year’s flu season has had a “late peak.” Often, the height of this arrives towards the end of December, stretching into early or mid-January. This actually was the case this year, too; however, peculiarly enough, we seem to be coming upon another surge of reported illnesses–a second rise in another strain of the sickness. Why is the flu making a comeback so late into the season? How is this affecting Hanover High School?

The original strain, which caused a number of absences towards the end of 2018, was likely different than this second streak, the latter of which has been identified as a virus known as Type A H3N2. Flu prevention techniques (like the flu shot) differ in success rates each year as Influenza is highly variable, and as “different strains usually circulate at the same time” (the Concord Monitor).

The flu shot for the original strain of Influenza this season was estimated to be 60% effective. Nonetheless, so far, 69 children have died from the flu across the U.S. How does Hanover fit into this?

We make up a small portion of the 25 million reported flu cases this year, though the numerous absences and empty hallways make the number feel much greater. New Hampshire has, thus far, seen no deaths directly attributed to the flu, but areas like Merrimack County, for example, have been experiencing high rates of “acute respiratory disease”–an indicator of the flu.

So, how can you, dear student, protect yourself?

First off, remember to stay at home if you’re contagious. The flu is easily transmittable, so be aware of other’s health as well as your own. It’s difficult as an HHS student to miss school, especially during this time of the year, with lots of new material and lengthy projects circulating. However, keep in mind that your wellbeing is as important (if not more) than your academic achievements. It’s a hard pill to swallow, I know, but you can always take that test next week–focus on getting better, first and foremost. It’s far more difficult to finish that project in a hospital bed. With this, if you’re sick, allow yourself a few days off from sports, if you partake–sickness breeds extreme physical, emotional, and mental fatigue. Additionally, if you start experiencing signs of the sickness (a fever, achy muscles, chills and sweats, fatigue, congestion, or a sore throat) keep in mind that the flu could be to blame–don’t brush it off as a minor cold. Lastly, although it’s best to get a shot before the flu season begins, it’s never too late.

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