After Elizabethton City Schools closed Thursday and Friday due to illness, there have been concerns about whether other surrounding districts in Northeast Tennessee would follow suit.
With this year being a more sever season for the flu, Jamie Swift, corporate director of infection prevention at Mountain States Health Alliance reminds area residents to get the flu vaccine and practice good hygiene to avoid sickness.
Though reports suggest this year’s flu vaccine is only 10 percent effective against a mutated strain of the virus, health care professionals in Tennessee are still urging people to get their shots.
With many local school systems taking days off in reaction to large numbers of flu cases among students and staff, parents are scrambling for ways to care for their ailing kids.
Absences from flu and other seasonal illnesses prompted Elizabethton and Washington County school officials Wednesday to shut down the systems’ schools for the remainder of the week.
Washington County Schools director Kimber Halliburton has been directing her custodians to clean high-contact areas — door handles, water fountains and desktops — where the influenza virus easily passes from one person to another.
The health systems are asking anyone younger than 12 and anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms refrain from visiting patients in the hospital at this time.
The presumed peak of influenza season is in January and February, but according to public health experts and the medical director for the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Department, the prime time to get your flu shot is now.
It’s been a below-average winter flu season.