The Prowler

Time to take your shot

Joseph Granat, Feature Editor

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The holiday season brings many joys to children across the world; however, the children at North face the additional risk of being contaminated by germs.

According to health researcher Marcel Salathe at Stanford University, due to the high frequency of close proximity interactions (CPI’s), schools are vulnerable to the spread of diseases and illnesses. Symptoms pointing to the flu include; coughing, sneezing, sore throat, fever and headaches.

“When you get more people together, you’re creating more germs,” North nurse Laura Sbarbori, R.N. said.

Preventing the flu virus is dependent on the average person’s cleanliness. The old adage, wash your hands is the number one way to avoid germs, but there are other suggestions such as covering a sneeze or cough, disinfecting hard surfaces and avoiding people who have flu-like symptoms. If a person succumbs to the flu, a doctor may prescribe Tamiflu to help fight it.

“Vitamin C is good if you have the flu. It helps you get rid of it faster,” Sbarbori said.

While there are simple ways to avoid getting sick such as proper diet and rest, the simplest way to be prepared is by getting a flu shot. Even though a shot can be given at any local pharmacy, less than half of the US citizens get vaccinated every year according to health care reporter Dan Mangan at CNBC.

“[The flu shot] treats you with antibodies. Scientists develop strains in the vaccination to help the body upgrade immunity,” pharmacist Joseph Ekowa said.

Ekowa clarified the importance of getting a shot, as being exposed to an airborne virus which could potentially damage a person’s health if not treated within the months of September and October.

“The immune system tends to get lower and your body is fatigued. This could lead to infection [without the aid of a flu shot],” Ekowa said.

The importance of a shot does not guarantee safe health. There are ways a shot could make one’s health even worse.

“People who are allergic or have immunity disorders should not get them. It also depends on if the shot covers the right strain,” Ekowa said.

The success of this shot may be compromised because the flu shot only reduces the chances of becoming ill by 40 to 70 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The strain put into the vaccines are only effective against the same virus later on. For example, viruses such as influenza A (H1N1) could be stopped with a strain in the shot of the same illness, but not to influenza A (H3N2).

“Kids will not get it as bad, but may still be infected by [other diseases],” North nurse Kiersten Grant said.

Without this vaccination, viruses are free to roam with little to defend immune systems. North students may not yet realize the risks they take in being around each other.

“When school starts, within about two weeks we notice an increase in colds and coughing. [Students] start sharing germs,” Grant said.

Interacting throughout the school, students have many chances of contracting a body virus without even knowing it. Teenagers spread viruses by sharing drinks, not washing their hands or even kissing in the hallway.

“During the winter, there’s a lot of tests and competitions that we need to be healthy for, and there’s always somebody that gets everyone else sick,” sophomore Claire Songco said.

Thousands of men and women walk into North every day unaware of the risks they take by coming into contact with millions of germs. With the infinite possibilities of being contracted with a virus, students and staff must stay vigilant to remain healthy for the holidays.

“I don’t want to fail my finals just because I got sick for a few weeks,” sophomore Bella Cruz said.

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Time to take your shot