Flu season affects East’s nurses


Photo by Sabrina Benford

Perkins working at her desk in the health office. She is the head nurse at East.

Influenza ‘flu’ season happens every year from mid to late December all the way to March. Most people have forgotten about Flu due to COVID-19. School nurses will still have to deal with Flu and COVID-19 cases. While Flu season is in effect, how will this affect the nurses? Surprisingly as of November 2021 they have seen no Flu cases.

“Wearing mask(s) that we do for COVID also helps for Flu,” school nurse, Heather Perkis said.

With Lancaster County having a mask mandate at the moment cases might not rise as often as years before the pandemic. But for a mask to be effective you must be wearing it correctly. The mask must be above your nose, pinched at the nose, and covering your chin and mouth.

“Look in a mirror and look at [your mask] to see if you got big gaps on your sides,” CHI Health’s Employee Registered Nurse Coordinator, Beth Benford said.

It is also not school nurses’ jobs to diagnose students of their illness. They can only send students home for symptoms like, “fever, vomiting, diaherra, general morales, where they don’t feel well,” Perkins said. All of these symptoms can be the cause of the Flu, COVID-19, and other common illnesses. We also haven’t hit the peak of Flu, which is in February.

There are ways to lower your chance of getting the Flu. One way, of course, is wearing the same masks you wear for COVID-19. “Think of it like a very fine mist, you can’t even see it”, Benford said. “Influenza is airborne, when you’re standing in close proximity to someone who coughs, sneezes, or even speaking, droplets are being let out. We define it within 6 feet of the person.”

Another way of preventing influenza is, “[Nurses] encourage shots for influenza”, Perkins said.

“If you have concerns about vaccines we want you to speak with your medical provider,” Perkins said. “Don’t go to the internet, because of misinformation on the internet and make an educated decision.”