The flu has been terrible around here this year. There are two strains floating around, both very nasty, and the middle school where I work is getting hit hard. One of the nurses told us that out of 900 students, we have 112 confirmed cases so far! It's gotten so bad that DHEC is monitoring the situation at all the local schools, including ours. We're on the verge of having to close for a day or two so they can come in and do a major disinfection of the building. One elementary school is already doing it.
The two hospitals in Florence are overwhelmed, too. A nurse (who came to pick up her sick son's assignments from school) told me the one where she works has over a hundred patients admitted with serious complications from flu. A local newspaper reported that there have been 46 deaths from flu in South Carolina this month. A coworker of mine left early today to meet her daughter at one of the Urgent Care clinics, where there was a 2 hour wait and nurses handing out face masks.
In addition to the flu at our school, strep throat and a stomach virus have been making the rounds. A few unlucky kids got flu and strep at the same time. Industrial size boxes of disinfectant spray and cans of Lysol are everywhere, with teachers and office staff alike compulsively wiping everything down, all day long, including telephones, keyboards, computer mice, and door handles. Earlier this week there were two afternoons where I started to feel achy and tired, and had to come home and lie down. Both times I thought "Here it comes" but so far, I seem to be okay. I never actually started running a fever and today I feel totally normal. I sure hope I've managed to fight it off. I haven't had the flu in almost 20 years, and I'd like to keep it that way.
It did occur to me that if I did get sick, I could get out of attending the memorial party for my mother in law on Saturday. Isn't that awful? Gregg and I are both dreading it for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with our regard for his mother and her memory. But of course, we have to go, not just for the party but also to sort through her things with his siblings and decide what we want to keep and bring back with us. It's going to be a long, trying, emotional day and I almost wish I had such a good excuse to stay at home! Of course, a flu would be a lot more than just one unpleasant day. Everyone that I know of that has gotten sick has endured several days of very high fevers that have been hard to keep down.
Is the flu especially virulent where you live this year?