Not too late for bug repellent

Published 9:03 am Friday, February 16, 2007

By Staff
The flu bug that has bitten Hyde County’s mainland schools is proof that it’s not too late to catch the virus. Thus, it’s not too late to get a flu shot.
It may seem late in the season to consider getting the vaccination. We’re halfway through February and, though current temperatures don’t give the promise of spring, it is right around the corner.
But Hyde County Health Director Linda Mayo gave a straightforward reason why folks should not let the calendar make the flu-shot decision for them. “As long as there are people who have the flu, there are people who are contagious,” she said. “That’s reason enough to get a shot, regardless of the time of the year.”
And clearly, there are people in the area who are contagious. The Mattamuskeet elementary, middle and high schools were closed Wednesday, Thursday and today. They are scheduled to reopen Monday. The decision to close the schools was based on Mayo’s recommendation to do so.
After 107 of the three schools’ 541 students were absent because of flu-like symptoms earlier this week, Mayo suggested closing the schools “to break the cycle of infection.”
The move will help in Hyde, but it’s not as though that’s the only North Carolina county fighting the battle of the bug. Some hospitals in Guilford, Durham and Edgecombe counties have asked people not to come in unless it’s absolutely necessary, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
As for parents and others who send children suffering from the flu to school, they must stop that practice. Sending such a student to school because mother or father, or someone else, doesn’t want to stay home with the sick child is a poor excuse for putting other students, teachers and others at risk of getting sick, too. If a child is contagious, he or she should not go to school. A child should stay home until he or she is well.
Closer to home, it’s a good bet that plenty of little Janes and Joes from Hyde County have playmates or family or other interests that will bring them — and their flu germs — across county lines. Infants, young children and the elderly are especially at risk when it comes to the effects of the flu, health officials said. Thus, Hyde residents’ neighbors ought to consider rolling up their sleeves and getting their flu shots, as well.
Depending on which strain of the flu a person gets, the symptoms may include chills, fever, aches, vomiting and cramps. Those symptoms can endure for several days.
There’s no good reason one should endure those symptoms when flu shots are still available at local health departments. A flu shot provided by the Beaufort County Health Department costs $30, unless a person has Medicaid or Medicare coverage. Patients may be seen from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and no appointment is necessary to receive a flu shot. In Hyde County, flu shots are available at the health department for $5 a person.
Those are small prices to pay for a bug repellent that could help area residents avoid a great deal of misery.