Flu early start

CDC map shows where flu activity is already spiking

The reporting for the 2022-2023 Influenza season began nationwide on October 3, and flu activity has been high across the country, with the Southern States having been hit particularly hard. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, the state is currently trending around twice the national average in positive Influenza cases, with the Northeast region having the second-highest number of confirmed flu cases in the state. Though respiratory virus activity has occurred earlier than usual, according to the Mayo Clinic, an early flu season does not necessarily indicate a more severe or longer flu season.

RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This common respiratory virus often causes mild, cold-like symptoms from which people usually recover in a week or two. Still, RSV can be severe, especially for infants and older adults. According to the CDC, the number of hospitalizations from RSV in all age groups rose dramatically in several states during October, including Tennessee. Unfortunately, Influenza is not the only virus hitting the nation, the state, and the county, as RSV and Covid 19 have also been prevalent this season.

Wendy Henley, the School Nurse Administrator for Johnson County Schools, stated that “schools here in Johnson County were not hit hard with RSV, though there were a few confirmed cases.”

“We do not test for RSV at the schools, as students with symptoms of RSV have to see their doctors for that specific test,” she said. Henley went on to say that the schools’ test for influenza and strep throat, the latter of which has spread. Streptococcal pharyngitis or Strep Throat is a highly contagious bacterial throat infection. Though not a virus, this illness usually occurs and spikes during Flu season, giving parents yet another illness to be aware of. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of strep throat are fever and a sore and scratchy throat. Though it is most common in children, it affects people of all ages and should be treated immediately, as it has the potential to cause complications, including rheumatic fever.

Covid 19 infections have recently spiked in our community. According to CDC reporting, Johnson County had twenty active cases as of Wednesday, November 9th; however, according to Henley, they have only experienced a few cases in the schools. “Attendance due to illness has not dropped significantly throughout our county schools,” stated Henley, who went on to say that parents should keep their children home from school and see their family doctor if their children have a fever and symptoms of the flu, strep throat, Covid, or RSV.