ASD Works to Keep Swine Flu Under Control

On Feb. 6, 1976, a soldier at an American training camp was ordered to stay in his bunk because of his flu like symptoms. Within a day, the soldier was dead. Little did the world know, a never before seen strain of flu was among us. The name of the flu alone set off a nationwide fear of an epidemic similar to that of the influenza of 1918-1919. Today, a new strain of the Swine Flu is among us that has taken the world by surprise. And although the world has made great advancements with technology, the people of the United States are just as worried as they were in 1976. The virus, also being called the H1N1 virus can be very deadly and the virus is classified as any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs. In the past few weeks, the Swine Flu has worked its way to Dimond High School . The vaccine was originally scheduled to be given on Nov. 10, but because supplies are limited, the date has been moved and an official date has not been released. “We’re still not sure what form of the vaccine we will be receiving. We might get the live, attenuated vaccine (nasal spray) or the inactivated flu shot ,” Susie Whited, school nurse said. Every member of the Dimond student body received packet with information on the immunization process the district will be taking. With parent permission, students may get the vaccination when it arrives at Dimond. The vaccine will be distributed by registered nurses working with the district and not by the school nurses . On the Anchorage School District web site, Mark Mew, director of Security and Emergency Preparedness, said, “In the past several days, it has become apparent that there would be a vaccine shortage. We immediately began working on a back-up plan, which we switched to this afternoon. The district understands this may be an inconvenience and could cause confusion for parents but we must make changes due to the unavailability of the vaccine.” The ASD recently decided to immunize elementary school students first as they are more likely to become ill from the swine flu. Some of the staff and many of the students believe there is some correlation between after school activities, such as sports, clubs and off campus sport teams that have helped the swine flu move to local schools. The ASD is working hard to keep the Swine Flu under control by telling parents to teach their kids how to properly cough. The Center for Disease Control as well as the ASD wants everyone to cough into their shoulder and arm instead of coughing into their hands. A great number of people cough into their hands, which allows the virus to spread between contact with other people such as a simple high-five or handshake. The Dimond Parent Teacher Student Association worked together to buy small alcohol- based hand sanitizers for the school in hopes of diminishing the number of sick students. Whited says the best thing students can do is wash your hands carefully and thoroughly multiple times. The Dimond clinic does not diagnose the swine flu. “If any of the students has a high fever they are sent home immediately to try to prevent that student from being in contact with other students,” said Whited. The students who are feeling ill receive a small booklet about the flu and what to do to try to prevent symptoms.