As the U.S. Braces an Early Flu Season: How can Smoky Students Stay Healthy?

Zakary Peterson, Co-Editor

“At the Children’s lab, what you see is since the beginning of November its [rates of positive flu testing] really starting to ramp up,” Eric Hale, MD said. The children’s lab is not the only one experiencing these high rates of flu; according to Vox, there has been inflated rates of flu across the whole United States during this time of the year.

While “experts disagree about why [positive flu rates] are worse this year than it’s previously been,” Hale said he believes that there is a simpler cause to this out of the ordinary flu season, “there is evidence that shows that kids who go to group care like daycare when they’re two or three get slammed with viral illness, but by the time they get to kindergarten, they’re like ‘what cold?'”

He also said that “kids who stayed home with a parent” and then went onto kindergarten “get a cold like every day.” Although, “by the time they’re in third grade you can’t tell them [the kids who went to a daycare and the kids who stayed home] apart. This illustrates that there is perhaps some immune learning that goes on.”

Hale went further to “extrapolate that probably over the last few years, we’ve fallen behind a little bit on kids developing immunity to viruses. So there’s been a bit of a backlog of viruses that kids are exposed to and they then have to develop immunity to it; that’s what I think is happening.”

Carla Sullivan, Smoky Hill’s culinary teacher, also noted “small children” being more affected by this flu season; but she has said it’s impact on student’s learning is large as well, “you know, I definitely have students that have been out sick and when they are sick, they’re gone for at least a week with it.”

Although many students decide to stay safe by staying home, others come to school because they really can’t afford to miss various tests. Though the affects of sickness and learning are hard for some students as Vincent Zeng (11) said, “Yeah, I’m having a hard time concentrating in classes with it.”

While the flu season may be worse since the COVID-19 pandemic, students will adjust to it and build immunity to viruses to hopefully not become sick again.

The Cherry Creek Schools District Health Department did not respond to a request for comment.