Flu symptoms wreaking havoc on Crawford County residents
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A large number of Crawford County residents have been dealing with flu symptoms as the season for the illness enters its peak time of year.
Dr. Jennifer Morse, the medical director for District Health Department #10, which covers Crawford County, said flu starts to spread October 1 through the late spring.
But the peak of flu season goes from late January into early March.
That is no exception this year in Crawford County, where a high number of residents have been diagnosed with the flu, but have been less impacted than in other areas in the state.
“This is usually when flu season is at its worse,” Morse said. “We do still have widespread flu in the area.”
Morse added that there is 50/50 split of people being diagnosed with influenza A, or particularly a strain known as H1N1, and influenza B.
Morse said H1N1 has a tendency to impact children and young adults.
Schools in northern Michigan have closed due to the high impact flu is having on students and staff.
Hart Public Schools in Oceana County and Charlton Heston Academy in Roscommon County closed to give students a break and to allow custodial staff to clean facilities. In the Upper Peninsula, Rudyard Area Schools and Pickford Public Schools were closed.
Morse said that students are being diagnosed with influenza, stomach flu, strep throat, and other illnesses.
“Everybody is sick with a whole lot of stuff, but definitely influenza is a good chunk of it,” she said.
Generally, districts will close when they have only 75 percent of students in attendance.
In Crawford County, the Grayling Elementary School’s average daily rate of attendance was approximately 85 percent as of Friday, January 31.
Attendance at the Grayling Middle School and Grayling High School for same time frame was 95 percent.
“We will continue to monitor our attendance rates over the next few weeks,” said Crawford AuSable School District Superintendent Justin Gluesing.
Bus drivers are taking extra time to clean busses and custodial staff are focused on areas where flu germs can stay and be easily spread.
“We have added time for additional cleaning of bus seats, and as always this time of year, our custodial staff is focused on cleaning touch surfaces at all our buildings,” Gluesing said.
On Friday, February 14, the schools will begin midwinter and Extended Learning Year breaks, which will give students time to rest and recuperate.
“This time off should also assist with mitigating the spread of flu or other sicknesses,” Gluesing said.
Morse urged adults and children who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to stay home, wash their hands, drink a lot of fluids, and get plenty of rest.