The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that flu season is ramping up, with widespread activity in 14 states. School-aged children, especially, are feeling the results across the mid-Atlantic and Southern regions. Two school systems in the southern U.S. have decided to start the winter break early because of a sharp increase of students with flu symptoms.

In Polk County, Georgia, 17% of the students were out sick on Monday, December 15th, 1,300 out of 7,800 students. Additionally, 78 of the district’s 500 teachers were also out ill.

Schools in Cherokee County North Carolina are also shutting down 2 days earlier than scheduled due to widespread flu. Individual schools in Illinois, Ohio, and Georgia are also shutting down. Communications are also going out to parents discussing flu warning signs and urging caretakers to keep kids home if they are ill to prevent spreading the disease.

The widespread flu this year may be due to a less effective vaccine than in previous years. The CDC reports that this year’s flu strains diverged somewhat from the strains included in the vaccine. A less effective vaccine means that parents should rely on more traditional methods to avoid spreading the disease. Be sure to wash hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when sick.

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season, from Orlando ENT.

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