Swine Flu Causes Trauma

Jamie Riley

On July 11 the World Health Organization declared swine flu a worldwide pandemic.  With the news of H1N1 killing over 1,000 Americans, President Obama confirmed swine flu as a national emergency Oct. 23.  Many Miramonte students have been infected, leading to an increase in student absences this fall season.

“My friends told me I was lucky I got to stay home a week from school,” said junior Kathryn Butler. “But having swine flu was horrible; it was much worse than having the regular flu.”

H1N1 is caused by the type A influenza virus, a highly contagious disease among pigs, which then mutated into a disease seen in humans.

The transmission of swine flu is similar to that of the common flu.  You can contract this virus if an infected person sneezes or coughs on you, or when you touch a contaminated surface, and then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose.

According to Lynne Alper, a physician at UC Berkeley, people are infectious one day before they develop symptoms, which makes it more difficult to prevent H1N1 from spreading.

The symptoms of this virus are also similar to that of a seasonal flu.  They include coughing, sore throat, headache, chills, fever, vomiting, and fatigue.

“Anyone with a fever and cough or sore throat, or anyone ill should stay home,” said Miramonte nurse Barbara Polanger. “They should contact their healthcare provider. They need to stay home and recover until they are fever free for 24 hours without any fever-reducing medicine, even if they feel better.”

It is important for infected students to be on top of their studies as much as possible, as they will probably be out of school for more than a few days before their symptoms cease.

“Be sure to have a parent call the attendance office recorder every day you are absent,” said Associate Principal Jan Carlson. “Keep in touch with all of your teachers via email and Blackboard; arrange to make-up missed work and tests.  When you return to school, come to the attendance office with a doctor’s note verifying that you had H1N1.”

“I can understand why people are worried about swine flu,” said Alper. “But the fact is, that it’s just another virus that almost all of us will do fine with. Get vaccinated and encourage your friends to stay home when they are sick.”

Swine flu vaccines are arriving in the Bay Area.  It’s crucial that people check in with their doctor’s offices, because pharmacies and offices are unsure of how many doses of the vaccine they will receive.