The flu is back

Flu season got off to a slow start, perhaps due to mild weather this winter, but it’s making a late season charge that health officials have been predicting.

“The next couple of weeks is when we tend to peak,” said Johnson State College Nurse Practitioner Jeanie Cass. “I hadn’t seen any Flu cases per se until Feb. 9 when we had a glut, 10 to 12 students.”

Meanwhile, a second distinctly different ailment has appeared, norovirus (NV). “The Vermont Department of Health issued an advisory earlier this week that they were seeing clusters of the norovirus,” she said. “I haven’t seen anyone with it yet.”

The symptoms are similar for both sicknesses, which makes determining which one a person might have difficult.

The symptoms for influenza (flu), according to the Vermont Department of Health, are fever, headache, tiredness and weakness (can be extreme), dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body or muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which is much more common among children than adults.

The norovirus’ symptoms, according to the Department of Health,ss are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping; and sometimes low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness.

Cass says that the low-grade fever associated with NV tends to run around 99-100 degrees whereas the typical fever with the flu is higher, 101 degrees or greater.

She urges students who think they might have either of these sicknesses to come to the health clinic.

Cass noted the single best defense against either ailment is proper hand hygiene coupled with isolation if you think you are sick or getting sick in order to protect those around you.