Last year at this time, the big news was the flu, as concerns about the thennew H1N1 virus, sometimes called Swine Flu, was on everyone’s mind.
This year– not so much.
Mike Oricko, Fulton County Health Commissioner, said the county health department has had no confi rmed cases of influenza in Fulton County as yet.
But based on anecdotal evidence, what health department workers have heard is there is a respiratory illness making the rounds that most are referring to as a cold.
Several stories of people suffering colds are reaching the Buckeye office.
Mike Lane, Pettisville High School principal, said absences are down considerably this school year, when compared to last.
He said, “at this point in time (Monday, Oct. 25) last year, school had been in session for 42 days. The elementary children (grades K-6) had a combined 992 days absent.
“This year, after being in session for 47 days, (due to the earlier start date) the elementary had a combined 169 days absent.”
As an example, if there are 50 students absent during one school day, that equals a combined 50 days of absence.
Lane said at the same point in time last year, the Pettisville High School (grades 7-12) had a combined 897 days absent.
This year, the combined figure is 135.
Dorothy Lambert, principal at Archbold Elementary, said the absentee rate at her school is also lower.
“We have had some colds, stomach flu, strep throat, etc., but overall, the kids seem to be bouncing back quickly,” she said.
Oricko said the health department has seen “quite a few people coming in for flu shots.
“It’s a lot easier to deal with than the flu,” he said.
All of the usual flu-prevention advice, such as washing hands frequently and covering the mouth when coughing, remain in place.
Also, Oricko said if a person recognizes they are suffering symptoms of the flu, they should stay home to avoid spreading the illness.
Lane said he hopes that by reporting the information, that “this won’t jinx us, as we have enjoyed having the kids in school and not home ill.”–David Pugh