By Ryan Pierce
The flu season is reaching its peak, and there is a distinct lack of vaccinations to fight it. Every week, influenza symptoms spread, and sickness worsens. The flu is now widespread in 35 states, including Oregon as a hotspot for the flu. The dominant strain of the flu this year is the H1N1 virus. This strain is hitting the younger and older with more force than those of moderate age. There have been 8 confirmed adults deaths as of Jan. 10th.

    The primary reason for the spread of the virus comes down to the vaccination itself. The vaccination does not guarantee that you will not catch the flu, but greatly reduces your chances of catching it and spreading it to others. The vaccination rate is surprisingly low, only hovering near 30% of the population. In the event of a vast majority of the population, over 90%, few people would ever get sick, and the strain of the virus would become weak being unable to transfer person to person. Unfortunately, there just are not enough people requesting a flu shot, and therefore many of them will catch the virus.

    The Red Cross has many recommendations for how to know when you are sick and how to prevent getting sick in the first place:

– If you are sick you need to stay home. This will prevent passing on the sickness to others who are unsuspecting of your illness, as well as letting you get better quicker.

– If you are sick and you sneeze or cough, you need to cover your face when doing so. Preferably by sneezing or coughing into the elbow.

Preventive methods include:

–If you notice someone is sick, you should keep your distance. You can catch the flu from over 6 feet away in the air.

– Wash hands regularly.

– Avoid contact with nose, eyes, and mouth.

Symptoms of influenza include:

– Sudden dizziness

– Inability to eat/drink and/or vomiting

– High fevers

– Headaches and soreness

– Runny nose, sore throat, and coughing

Junior Breezy Burns said “Of course the flu is bad!” after she was asked to give her opinion on the virus now widespread throughout Eugene. Of course her chances of catching it are now relatively low, thanks to the flu shot she received through the school. Junior Stacy Wheeler, also commented, “I was not offered a shot,” despite having gone to the same location in the school as Breezy had. This may suggest a shortage in the school, or perhaps just a slip of the mind. Stacy Wheeler and Breezy Burns later mentioned that Band instructor Rick Delph was out of class for nearly a week, sick with the flu.