The Bengal Beat

The Influenza Virus Attacks the Nation

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The flu is killing up to 4,000 people a week. (Picture taken by Pixabay)

The flu is killing up to 4,000 people a week. (Picture taken by Pixabay)

The flu is killing up to 4,000 people a week. (Picture taken by Pixabay)

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The influenza virus, simply known as the flu, has been unquestionably intense this year. There have been many deaths caused by the virus and the flu is still spreading. It spreads extremely easily and can last from a couple days to a couple weeks. The deadly virus attacks the throat, nose, and lungs. The virus tends to attach to people with weaker immune systems because it is harder for them to fight it off.  

“The flu has spread the most because kids have poor hygiene and do not wash their hands enough. Then, they go and dab each other up, causing the spread of germs. They also refuse to sneeze in their sleeves, resulting in germ clouds that other kids walk through. Children are a group that have weaker immune systems, so it is easier for them to catch the virus,” says sophomore John Murphy.

A flu season like this has not been seen in nearly a decade. Eighty percent of deaths caused by the flu were in the age groups of men and women over 65 years old. According to the Center for Disease Control, the influenza virus kills between 12,000 and 49,000 people, and puts more than 700,000 people in the hospital annually. About 4,000 Americans are dying every week due to influenza, or pneumonia caused by the virus.

“Our school has been affected, if I have to say percentage-wise because we only have 440 people, it is nowhere near the same as public schools. Exactly 8 percent of the population of Brashier has had it from the beginning of the flu season, which starts in September or October, to now. We are at the tail end of the flu season, so we have a couple of weeks before it starts to peter out. Brashier has been seeing anywhere from type A to type B, and even some type C strains of the Influenza virus,” says Brashier’s school nurse Kim Gassner.

There are many symptoms and causes of the epidemic. The most common symptoms include: fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills, and fatigue. The flu is highly contagious because you can breathe in bacteria or kiss an infected person, and the virus can be spread by touching silverware, door knobs, handles, or any other surface that has been touched by an infected person. There are also many emergency warning signs that differ by age. Infants, children, and adults have completely different signs, except for a fever.

“I had very severe headaches the whole time. I had a terrible cough and a high fever. Also, I was very tired and didn’t feel like doing anything. In the beginning, when I went to get checked out, I didn’t know I had the flu because it wasn’t that bad, but then I started to get more sick and I had more symptoms. It was terrible,” says sophomore Anna Jernigan.

The flu vaccination this year has not been as helpful as expected, because it has only worked about 30 percent of the time. However, it is urged by health officials that you get the vaccine anyway because of the hard-hitting virus. The health officials believe that the best way to protect a community is for as many people as possible to get the vaccine. This is said to cause more people in the community to become immune to the virus so that anyone who is not immune will have a lower chance of being exposed to it.

“I think that people should get the vaccination just in case, even though it isn’t working very well. It could always pull through for someone. If it can make people be less likely to be exposed, then why not? It could help the whole community, so we should at least try to do what we can,” says sophomore Joseph Gibson.

When someone acquires the flu, it can be a very hard thing to get through. Body aches are severe and very frequent; GI problems, such as diarrhea, nausea, constipation, and vomiting occur;also, lack of energy, tiredness, and physical or mental exhaustion are common. Despite common symptoms, everyone has different experiences dealing with the flu. As for preventing influenza, there are many things that can be done. Washing hands frequently, elbow-coughing, disinfecting commonly used surfaces, and drinking water are the best ways to avoid contracting the virus.

“I got cold shakes. I had tensed up muscles, and I basically felt like someone had hit me over the head because I had a headache for two days. I felt like I had worked out more than any amount of training that I have ever done for sports. It was like a month’s worth of training had happened in one day. I woke up the next morning and I felt like all of the muscles in my body were way over-used and strained,” says math teacher Mike Diener.

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