By now, you’ve probably heard just how bad this year’s flu is. And not only is it hard-hitting, but it’s widespread too. The H3N2 virus has spread across 49 states, making it one of the worst flu seasons in over a decade. And while wild winter weather has been busy closing schools, for one Texas district and half a dozen in Oklahoma, it’s the flu that’s causing kids to stay home.

photo: CDC

Oklahoma’s Union City and Cleveland districts closed for one day and the Morris, Swink, Quinton, Valliant and Hugo districts closed for even longer. In Texas, the Bonham Independent School District has also temporarily closed due to the flu.

With too many students, staff and faculty affected by the flu to continue on with classes, the district had to do something to stop the spread of the illness. ABC News reported that the district wrote in a letter to parents, “As the number of confirmed cases of influenza grows, it is important to increase health and safety protocols for each campus, including disinfection of all buses and spaces.”

So yes, reports of entire school districts shutting down because of the flu are scary. The media coverage of the low-ish effectiveness of this year’s vaccine and the climbing number of cases are making some people panic. And even though there are plenty of reports citing people getting the virus after having the vaccination, experts are still advising its use.

Along with the vaccine, keep yourself and your kiddos away from anyone who is exhibiting symptoms, always use proper handwashing techniques and get to the doctor right away if you or your child has symptoms. The antiviral flu meds available work, and work well. While they don’t technically “cure” the flu, when taken early on they can significantly lessen symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness.

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(And as always, check with your own healthcare provider before taking any medical advice you might read here.)

What are your thoughts on school districts closing for the flu? Tell us in the comments below.

—Erica Loop

 

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