Litchfield schools are closed today and Friday, December 7 – 8, due to students sick with the flu. According to Superintendent Debbie Poffinbarger, students began going home sick Tuesday and by the end of the day, about 18 percent of the students were absent. Poffinbarger said most of the absentees are from the middle school and high school. Wednesday, more and more students became ill as the day went on until 337 students, 23 percent of the total enrollment were out of school. Custodians have spent several days deep cleaning and sanitizing the school and will continue to through Friday. Athletic events were canceled Tuesday and district personnel are evaluating those scheduled for tonight and Friday on an event-by-event basis.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is reminding you it’s not too late to get your flu shot.
The flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands or tens of thousands of deaths each year in the United States. The majority of hospitalizations and deaths occur in people 65 years and older, but even healthy young children and younger adults can have severe disease or even die from influenza.
“One of the biggest myths about getting a flu shot is that is that it gives you the flu. I’m here to say it has been scientifically proven that the flu vaccine does not give you the flu,” said Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “December 3-9, 2017 is National Influenza Vaccination Week and I encourage everyone who has not gotten their flu shot this season to get it sometime during the week to help protect you and those you care about during the holidays and beyond.”
The flu is a respiratory illness that can cause a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, and headaches. Vomiting or diarrhea are not typical, but can occur, especially in children. Flu can also lead to more serious complications such as pneumonia. Antibiotics will not treat flu, but you can ask your health care provider about antiviral medications.
Flu vaccination can reduce illnesses, doctor visits, and missed work and school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. While no vaccine is 100 percent, a flu shot may make your illness milder if you do get sick.
In addition to getting a flu shot, IDPH recommends following the 3 C’s: clean, cover, and contain.
Clean – frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water.
Cover – cover your cough and sneeze.
Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.
The Bond County Health Department has both regular and high-dose flu shots available. Walk in visits are accepted for adults, but you should make an appointment for children. The health department accepts Medicare and most insurances. The cost is $32 for the regular vaccine and $70 for the high dose. For more, or to schedule an appointment, call 664-1442.