Minnesota schools struggle through flu season


Megan Beh

Students all throughout the metro area have been suffering through flu shots in hopes of staving off infection.

Jason Kang, Staff Writer

After coming off a mild flu season last year, Minnesota is on the brink of an all-out epidemic. With 112 schools reporting flu outbreaks, Benilde-St. Margaret’s and the surrounding communities are taking maximum precautions against the flu in attempt to stop it before it becomes uncontrollable.

Since the start of this flu season, 75 Minnesotans have died due to the flu or complications associated with the flu, including St. Louis Park High School freshman Carly Christenson. On top of that, 2,128 people have also been hospitalized with flu like symptoms. Although the statistics are dismal, Dr. Sue Skinner, the senior high principal, remains optimistic about this flu season. “We don’t have as many kids out with the flu now as we did back in 2009, and I hope that continues,” Dr. Skinner said.

With complications and growing numbers of patients, the seasonal influenza seems deadly but can be overcome with vaccinations and a sterilized environment. “It is never too late to get the flu shot than getting sick and not attend school,” said Mrs. Sharon Ingalls, the health aid at BSM.

With 60 percent immune-effect, vaccinations prove to be the best prevention for BSM students and families. Despite the shortage of vaccines this year, getting a flu shot not only helps students recover quickly but significantly improves the attendance at school. “I get a flu shot every year. I haven’t been easily sick since then,” sophomore Andrew Betcher said.

Despite the many advocates for flu shots, some remain skeptical of whether the effect is really worth the pain. “I just hate shots in general, and I get the bare minimum…I’ve never gotten a flu shot and, I’ve never gotten the flu,” senior Abby Dryer said.

In addition to the number of absences, the seasonal influenza forces students to miss classes and bring down their grades. Even with the accessibility to the Internet and Haiku, students cannot receive physical handouts and have to delay quizzes and tests in order to make up all the work on time. “Because the last week was finals, there might be a surge of flu with sick students coming to school [not wanting] to miss tests,” Mrs. Ingalls said.