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Halstead, KS 67056
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Lots Of Kids Out Sick With Flu-Like Symptoms

Posted 2/2/2017

By Pilar Martin

HARVEY COUNTY—Coughing, sneezing, sore throats, congestion and fevers are running rampant in the area. People feel badly.

The Center for Disease Control has confirmed that the flu or influenza is widespread in Kansas. And it came fast. Just two weeks ago there were no confirmed reports. In some areas of the state, hospitals are running out of beds due to the flu.

The illness, along with strep throat and flu-like illnesses are affecting school attendance in the area too.  At Burrton High School, 11 students were out ill last Friday according to Principal Tyler Hoopes. That may not seem like a lot, but with only 16 students in the senior class, 11 absent is noticeable.

Skip Cowan with the Harvey County Health Department said flu-like illness has come to Sedgwick too.

“The flu is not a reportable disease, meaning doctors do not have to report it, but there are a few agencies who do keep track,” Cowan said. “It has really hit in the past 10 days.”

In Sedgwick, kids came back from Christmas vacation with illness and started spreading it around. On Monday, Jan. 30, 22 students were absent in the grade school and junior high building, while 12 were gone at the high school.

“Illness is high right now,” School Nurse Jana Blank said. “It's flu season and it's normal to have kids out from school.  I do feel as though the numbers are higher this season than last. Numbers are starting to decrease and plateau now but the last couple weeks have been very busy in the nurse’s office.” 

She said she has been seeing mostly respiratory illness with fevers and body aches, most likely Influenza A, but not everyone is tested. She has had some confirmed cases.  Blank also reported seeing some strep throat and some GI illness. None of these illnesses are out of the norm for this time of year, but the numbers are higher than last year with children and adults, Blank said.

Blank reminded parents that it's important to keep their children home if they are sick.  Influenza is spread very easily and can be very dangerous for some with weaker immune systems.

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.