School Prepares for Arrival of H1N1

School Prepares for Arrival of H1N1 (Swine Flu)

Students, faculty and staff take precautions to keep safe and informed

by Thomas Ingle ’10, Staff Writer

The H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) has yet to reach McNamara, but precautions are underway to remove misconceptions and ensure safe practices for everyone in the community.

The potential issue of an outbreak at Bishop McNamara is being addressed by Principal Marco Clark and the administration via the Newsletter and the email chain. As stated by Mr. Clark, each classroom has been issued Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer in attempt to disinfect the rooms and keep our environment safe and healthy. Every day after school, the janitors disinfect and sanitize every room in the school including the weight room.

Is it working?  Johnathon DeVane ’11 said, “I don’t believe that everyone actually washes their hands after they blow their nose or after they use the bathroom.” DeVane also stated that whenever he sees people not wash their hands in the bathrooms, he urges them to use proper hygiene.  On at least one occasion, they responded by mocking and disregarding what he said.

Students need to know that even with general precautions, germs can still spread. Practicing good hygiene and taking minor precautions will help stop the spread of sickness in McNamara. Cover your nose or mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands with soap and water as often as you can, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and try to avoid close contact with other sick people. Finally, if you get sick with flu like symptoms, stay at home at least twenty-four hours after your fever subsides.

H1N1 2
The H1N1 influenza virus. (from CDC.gov)

Some students are doing the right thing.  Casey Gouldman ’11 believes students are doing a better job of practicing safe hygiene at school. She has observed her peers sneezing and coughing in their elbows instead of their hands in an attempt to avoid the spreading of germs.
H1N1 is another strain of influenza, but what separates it from other strains of the flu is the fact that the details of what make swine influenza virus so infectious in humans are largely unknown. H1N1 is highly communicable and is particularly harmful for people younger people (25 and younger). Older people have antibodies that help defend their bodies against infections such as H1N1. People at higher risks to have serious complications to the virus are pregnant, have heart disease, kidney failure, diabetes, or asthma. According to Google Health, there are twenty-seven reported deaths from the Swine Flu at the time of this writing. If you think you are experiencing any potential symptoms of the flu, check the CDC online.

Vaccine for H1N1 should be available by the first week in October.  The vaccinations will be sent out to various distribution sites around the United States. They are in great demand, so getting your vaccination during the first few weeks of its release will be difficult. A vaccination is when an injection of a dead virus is put in your body so that antibodies are made to protect against that virus.  It is not a “cure” for H1N1, but it builds up your body’s immunities to it, hence it still may be possible to get flu, but it will not be fatal to your body.

The name “Swine Flu” is misleading to the general public and implies that it comes from pigs which it does not. People get the wrong idea that the name Swine Flu means that they will contract Swine Flu from eating variations of pork. The reason it is called the Swine Flu is not because you get it from eating pork or kissing pigs; it is because the flu shares similarities to flu that would be found in the American pig. In order to avoid these misconceptions, we should call it by its technical name H1N1.

Bishop McNamara has been taking careful precautionary measures in order to keep us healthy, but there is always improvement that we as individuals can do. Please stay informed, and practice safe hygiene.

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