Students unfazed by flu epidemic

After the peak of flu season in December, New Trier went almost untouched by the flu epidemic. School nurse Colleen Sheridan said the number of students home sick was “a little higher in December…like 100, but I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.”
While we’ve been going about our usual business, the media and doctors have been strongly advising everyone to get the flu shot this year due to a different strain.
Sheridan said, “Everyone needs the shot. Especially this year.” She also added that people should check with their doctors first to make sure they do not have a health condition that would be dangerous if they received the flu shot. Even though we may be strongly advised to get the vaccination, not everyone believes in getting it.
Junior Madeline Harbaugh said her family doesn’t believe in this vaccination. She added, “it’s better, in my opinion, to opt out of inserting something unnatural. I think that it’s better to leave these seasonal strains to nature.” While some believe that it should be up to nature to deal with the flu, some are just down right afraid of needles.
“I did not get the flu shot this year because I am terrified of needles,” said junior Ella Brumitt. She has only recieved the vaccination twice, but only because her doctor wanted her to be protected against the flu. According to Sheridan, some people may not receive the vaccination because they believe “the flu shot will give them the flu, which is a myth,” she said. “Others are fearful of the shot and some young, healthy people just don’t bother,” Sheridan added.
On the contrary, most of us want to stay healthy. “Essentially, people want to be safe, and the best way to be safe in an epidemic is to be vaccinated,” said Harbaugh. “People want to be guaranteed safety, and they think that safety can be achieved through the flu shot. But, what people don’t know is that sometimes the shot will actually cause you to get flu-like symptoms,” she added.
Not only are doctors reccommending everyone get the flu shot, but the media seems to be using the scare tactic to persuade people to get it as well. And to some, it’s working. Sophomore Lauren Holly does not get the vaccination every year. However, this year she “had been watching the news and they kept empisizing how severe this particular flu strain was. This time the media did influence me to get the shot,” Holly added.
But not everyone believed the media. Brumitt felt that the media sometimes exaggerates topics, such as the flu. “Because of it being a huge topic during the winter, people do get scared and feel it’s necessary to get the shot in order to stay healthy,” she said.
But have no fear. New Trier is here, with a bottle of hand sanitizer of course.
With a school as big as New Trier, it’s like trying to protect an entire city from illness. However, Sheridan reassures everyone that this school is taking all precautions. These precautions include; using hand sanitizer, staying away from sick classmates, getting the flu shot (if eligible), and hand washing.
In the days leading up to finals, Holly realized she “had been stressed, not getting enough sleep, and not eating too well,” she said. “That is basically the perfect mix for inviting sickness.”
Holly decided getting the shot “was a good idea because it was right before finals and I did not want to run the risk of coming down with something.” Sheridan emphisized, “It’s important to get the flu shot, get sleep; and stay home if you’re sick.”