Flu Virus Spreads Across Albemarle

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

March 23, 2006

In the last few weeks our area has been hit by a wave of the flu virus. It's making sick patients in the hospital even worse and the absentee list at school a lot longer.

"Within the last two or three weeks, the influenza A, which is the classic flu, has hit Charlottesville pretty hard," said Dr. Jay Gillenwater, a UVa Pediatrician.

From the UVa Medical Center to Albemarle County schools, it's spreading everywhere. Agnor-Hurt is one of the schools that have been hit the hardest. The assistant principal said last weeks dozens of students never made it to school.

"We had about 50 kids out of 400, on a few of the days, that were absent, so that's a pretty large percentage of our school population," said Jim Kyner.

David Jordan said some of those sick kids have made it onto his bus but surprisingly he hasn't caught the flu just yet.

"You can't not get it. Kids come up [to the front] and they have something to tell you or they have something to show you and they're right up in your face and they're coughing," said Jordan.

That coughing, sneezing and fever can be spread to other students without realizing it.

"The nature of the virus is that you're usually contagious before you know you’re sick," said Dr. Gillenwater.

It usually lasts about seven days. Doctors urge kids not to go to school and adults not to work until they feel 100 percent better. That will be the only way this wave of sickness will break.

Dr. Gillenwater reminds parents to make sure their child washes their hands consistently, even when the flu season is over.

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