DMS address flu


Logan Sanders

DMS school nurse Terry Burdine saw a lot of cases of the flu in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving Break.


The rate of absences before Thanksgiving Break was growing in the weeks leading up to the break.

Although not all of the absences were marked as being related to the flu or even sickness, many of them were. The flu has continued to be a problem since students returned to their classrooms this week.

According to the CDC website, “Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.”

School nurse Terry Burdine said the virus appeared to be on the upswing going into the break.

“There have been many students not feeling well, low grade temps with runny noses and coughing,” Burdine said. ” So far I have had only a couple of kids with the flu. Strep is also another one that is going around.

“Between four to six students a day this week is what I have been sending home, but many students just call their parents to come get them because they do not feel well. I attribute that to the abrupt temperature changes we have had occurring.”

Although class has continued as normal, there have been a number of students missing class in the weeks leading up to the break.

According to the Oklahoma Health Department website, 69 hospitalizations for the flu took place between Nov. 13 through 19. Since Sept. 1, 265 people have been hospitalized or have died as a result of the flu in Oklahoma, according to the website. Between Sept. 1 and Nov. 12, a reported 196 people were hospitalized for influenza-related illnesses.

There are two different types of influenzas: Flu A and flu B.

Flu B is more common and severe in children than flu A. The symptoms of flu A are coughing, sneezing, and fever. The symptoms of flu B are fever, chills, sore throat, coughing, runny nose/sneezing, fatigue, and muscle/body aches. Vomiting can also happen, but it mainly happens with small children. They both last up to five through seven days.

Burdine suggested that students and teachers wash their hands and clean their spaces, while maintaining good general hygiene.

“Staying healthy means eating leafy green vegetables, increase vitamin C and D for the winter months,” Burdine said. “Echinacea is another one that helps.

“Preventative measures for the flu would be to eat healthy, keep your hands washed and try not to touch your face while in school unless you have washed your hands. The majority of viruses can stay alive on a surface for up to 72 hours so hand washing is the first step to keeping viruses at bay.

“If someone has a cough or is sneezing, use the corner of your elbow to cough or sneeze in, this keeps germs from being left on surfaces.  Ideally a handkerchief or Kleenex should be used and if coughing or sneezing persists to see your doctor.”

For teachers and staff, Duncan Public Schools hosted days where Walgreens stopped by the Duncan schools to administer flu shots. Duncan Middle School’s flu vaccination date took place earlier this month.

One notable change for some students and teachers is the reappearance of masks. To keep themselves healthy, a number of people at DMS have gone back to wearing masks, which were prominent at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bam Miller, as student at DMS, said illness is a real worry for many students across the middle school.

“I have not gotten sick, but I believe I might get it,” Miller said. “I know one person who has gotten sick. To help prevent the flu, wear a mask. Truly, it helps just as much as it helps with Covid.”

This story was originally published on Demon Direct on November 29, 2022.