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Flu yet to affect attendance

Troy, Pike schools

By AMY S. LANSDON

News Editor

Cases of the flu are still on the increase in Alabama, but the Pike County and Troy City School systems have not seen an increase of absences since school started back Monday.

"We have not seen a lot of absences," said Sarah Black, school nurse at Troy Elementary School. "A teacher sent a note today that said she had one or two that have been sick, but it’s been really low. Sixty-one of our teachers and staff got their flu shot when the health department came out and gave free shots. That helped a lot."

The story is the same at most of the schools in the area, and as of yet, the flu has not had a tremendous impact on attendance. Cecilia Mitchell at Charles Henderson High School said she thinks the absentees have been low because of the recent break.

"The children being out for three weeks at Christmas has kept our numbers very low," she said. "By the time they came back to school they were over the flu. We have been very fortunate. We noticed the same thing last year with the extended schedule."

Pike County High School, Pike County Elementary School, Goshen High School, Goshen Elementary School, Banks School and Charles Henderson Middle School all reported the same thing – absentees are low and attendance is close to normal.

According to the National Flu Surveillance Network the entire nation is on flu watch. About nine states are on warning, 20 are on alert and the remaining states on watch, but the NFSN said the flu season is far from over. Alabama, Florida and Mississippi are on alert status and Georgia is on watch status.

Although the state is on flu alert status, nearby Montgomery, is only on alert status. Physicians of the NFSN said the flu is increasing in numbers, and it is not to late to get the flu shot. But the flu shot doesn’t ensure total protection against a case of the flu. The NFSN physicians recommends that anyone who experience flu symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

Carol Bassett, clinic coordinator of the Pike County Health Department said there is home protection against the flu. She suggested once the symptoms start to get plenty of rest, drinks extra fluids, and take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin for aches, pains and fever.

Bassett cautioned about giving aspirin and products containing aspirin to children due to the risk of Reye Syndrome.

Bassett said symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, weakness, sneezing and a runny nose. Other symptoms are sweating, dry cough, nasal congestion and sore throat.

In the United States influenza season typically lasts from November to April. the incubation period is about 14 days. Each year about 20,000 Americans die because of influenza and influenza-related pneumonia. Over 90 percent of the deaths occur in people age 65 and over. Pneumonia and influenza together are the sixth most common cause of death in the United States.