While the world is mesmerized with the burgeoning 2019 n-CoV outbreak and the novelty of a new virus infecting tens of thousands of people, in a single state of the US, tens of thousands of children are being impacted by influenza. In Tennessee, more than a dozen school districts were closed on Monday due to widespread illness. While the outbreak in China has topped 24,000 confirmed ill patients, almost 72,000 children stayed at home to allow the school boards time to clean and disinfect the schools to try and stop the spread of illness.
According to the CDC, estimates for this flu season indicate that between 19 and 26 million cases of influenza have occurred across the country, and at least 10,000 people have died as a result. In one Tennessee county, 10% of the entire student and teacher population had been off sick with the flu and other illnesses. The cost of illness is nothing to sneeze at. Schools are reimbursed based on bums in the seats. The numbers can vary by district, but on average, $25 - $30 per student per day is provided. If we assume 10% of the 12 affected counties have been impacted, that is $216,000 in lost funding for just one day!
The flu season is not expected to wain until at least the end of February. In Tennessee, 10 children have died from the flu so far this season with more than more than 41,000 cases of the flu reported across the state. People with flu can spread it by coughing, sneezing or TALKING to others up to about six feet away! The droplets "excreted" by someone carrying the flu can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. People can also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
The good news is that keep yourself and your family members healthy is relatively easy. The first step is getting vaccinated. The second step is to wash your hands frequency and especially before you eat and after you blow your nose or cough into your hands. Lastly, keep your area clean using disinfectants. Influenza is an enveloped virus, meaning while it is highly infectious, it is actually very easy to kill with a disinfectant. Wiping down high-touch surfaces frequently is an easy way to stop the spread of influenza. Whether your wiping down areas in your house or your office at work, having disinfectant wipes handy is a simple and easy way to keep healthy!