Flu Season Continues, Reaches and Spreads In New Hampshire

On average, Londonderry Middle School sees 15 absent students per day. For the past couple of weeks, more than 100 students have been out every day because of the virus.

Schools and educational institutions are becoming emptier each day than usual, teachers blame this to the increase of flu cases and flu-related illnesses among their students.

14 people have already died this flu season in New Hampshire due to A H3N2 flu strain, most of them are seniors. According to Director Dr. José Montero, this is an unusually high data, considering it’s still quite early of the season.

As the news of on the spread of the virus went on, so does the illness, thus the demand for the vaccine also started to rise.

While many pharmacies and some Bay State communities have run out of the flu shot, vaccines are still readily available in Southern New Hampshire.

Today, hospitals and medical institution are swamped, accommodating flu patients and those who are asking for the flu shot.

Susan Chadwick from the Derry Medical Center, says they’ve received at almost twice the number of calls they usually receive every day. Their office averaged 1,200 calls every day for the last month and a whopping 25% increase calls. Because of which, their office added more staff to accommodate the growing number of patients.

“It’s not too late to get a flu shot here,” Chadwick said. “We are meeting the high demand right now.”

Another place with high demand for more flu shot is the Walgreens in Derry. They only had vaccines for 65 age and up after running out of supplies in January 10th, but they received a new batch of vaccines on the 14th.

Not all schools reported surge in absences, but health officials say they’re anticipating for it to come, considering the pattern of the spread of this year’s flu season.

“I think (absences) have been normal because we just got back from vacation and the schools were cleaned then,” said Laura Nelson, Derry Cooperative School District superintendent. “I anticipate seeing changes as the weeks go on.”

School officials however, are doing everything they can to minimize the impact of the flu. As a matter of fact, the district has been following the same safety procedures implemented during the outbreak of H1N1 virus in 2009. Cleanliness and sanitation are emphasized, with hand sanitizers available in line school hallways, reminding the students to clean their hands regularly to stop the spread of the virus.

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