JACKSON BLEVINS ’20 | STAFF WRITER • The transition from fall to winter brings frigid temperatures, the occasional snowfall, and unfortunately, the flu. October to January is normally the time where some form of influ- enza, better known as the flu, spreads across the country and infects most parts of the United States in some way. Currently, every state except for Hawaii has reported widespread flu activity.
37 children have already died in the United States in 2018, and this year’s flu season is on pace to be the worst since the swine flu pandemic in 2009. Numbers are showing that this year’s flu season is set to equal or surpass that of the 2014-2015 flu season in which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 34 million Americans got the flu and about 56,000 people died. What is causing this heavy spike? The H3N2 strain of the flu is sweeping across the country at an alarming rate. Although this strand is not new and has been affecting humans for fifty years, it continues to mutate and avoid being completely controlled by vaccinations.
Many rumors have been spread about the effectiveness of this season’s flu shots, and it is unclear of the exact effectiveness. Last year’s flu shots were 39% effective for all
flu strains and 32% effective for the H3N2 strand. Since
flu season is not over, the CDC can only estimate that this year’s vaccine effectiveness is very similar to last year’s. The flu has garnered much attention on a national scale, and it has also made an impact here at Wabash.
Head Basketball Coach Kyle Brumett faced a huge challenge over
winter break as it spread quickly throughout his team. “I haven’t seen anything like this year,” Brumnett said. “We have 19 guys on our team, and 10 of them had some version of the flu. Some guys had the aches, pain, and fever, while others dealt with stomach issues. If you can find one positive, it’s that it didn’t happen during class time, so our guys couldn’t spread it across the campus.” Brumett cited that it took a toll on many players and caused many key players to have rest or not play due to increased fatigue from the influenza virus.
Dr. John Roberts ‘83 and Nurse Carol Lamb in the Student Health Center have also been impacted by this year’s flu season. Over break, Roberts sent out a campus-wide email titled “INFLUEZA – RED ALERT”, and proceeded to talk about the dangers
of flu season. Roberts cited that the
flu can spread rapidly across a living unit and college campus, and it is
safe to say he hit the nail on the head with this prediction. Along with many suggestions as to how to avoid the flu in Roberts’ email, Lamb had some wise words for everyone on campus.
“Make sure you are washing your hands whenever you can to prevent the spread of germs,” Lamb said. “The Student Health Center runs just like a physician’s office, except there is no charge. We have a small dispensary
of medicine that the doctor can also give you for free. We see anything and everything, so if you have any type of concern, we encourage you to come see us.” Eat healthy, rest up, and stay sanitary, Wallies, flu season will be over before we know it.