Yes, it that time of year alright.
The Center for Disease Control says this is one of the earliest flu seasons in record.
Teachers and parents hear all the wheezing, sniffing and sneezing and aching.. Students, at school, are constantly asking to go to the nurse, feeling stuffed up, feverish and all around awful.
Nurses get overloaded quickly this time of year with students complaining of flu-type symptoms. Only 50 percent of students get the flu shot each year. They lie down and share what bed space is available while parents are contacted.
Once a parent is contacted, a sick child may not have the option of going home. Only 47 percent of parents in the United States have decent sick time at their jobs. Most of the ones that do not get sick time for such a situation as a sick child are low income, minorities and part-time workers. They must choose between their financial stability or caring for their child.
If they can get excused from work to pick up the child, they may just instruct them about medicine and leave to go back to work. Office staff told me all the time that they follow up with children who go home sick and find out from the student that either they are alone, or a sibling was taken home to watch them. Either way, it is a dicey situation.
Teachers are often caught in the middle like their students. If a child is sick and retuned to class, they will unintentionally be disruptive. If they are home for several days, they will not learn new material and be behind upon their return which affects learning and grades with final exams coming fast.
Children may be exposed to other children and adults who are either working with the flu or are carrying the virus themselves. This year, three times the number of persons in the United States are expected to get the flu and half of them are young people.
I feel for parents who cannot stay home and take care of sick kids and may have to ask a sibling, if there is one, to stay home with them or leave them alone due to money concerns. There should be stricter laws giving parent protections so they can take a day or two off to take care of sick children.
This time of year, feelings of excitement and joy as holidays approach and those two weeks of winter vacation along with it. Parents and educators are on pins and needles using all the anti-bacterial gel and Kleenex to make sure difficult situations regarding sickness can be avoided.
Parents, best of luck to all of you this season and to your loved ones. I do hope you have a plan for taking care of your children if they need to be home from school.
Teachers, good luck with your students. I know you are doing your best under what can be trying circumstances.
Good health to us all and a safe holiday season.
Parents and teachers, I would like you to please share you flu-related stories. Please comment below.
I will post again next Monday- Wishing a safe and happy Thanksgiving to everyone and their families.