The 2013 flu outbreak is being called one of the worst in ten years. Forty-one states, including Illinois, have reported widespread outbreaks of the virus.
Despite the severity of the outbreak locally, absences due to flu-like symptoms in Barrington 220 School District last week were considered high but not necessarily any higher than normal during this time of year.
“In our schools, incidents of gastroenteritis (stomach flu) seem to be more prevalent than respiratory flu. The first kind is typically fast-moving and students can often return to school after 24 hours; the second kind is more prolonged, with absences of approximately five days,” District 220 Chief Communications Officer Jeff Arnett said.
The flu vaccine only protects against the respiratory flu.
Across the county, many are taking extra precautions to keep their health. Several Catholic dioceses have suspended the sign of peace and wine distribution from communal chalices, in an effort to prevent the spread of the flu virus. St. Anne in Barrington has decided to continue these practices for now.
“We’re relying on people’s common sense,” a St. Anne spokesperson said. “If they’ve got a cold, we hope that they don’t shake hands or drink from the cup.”
The last time revisions were made to mass due to flu concerns was in 2009, when the rapid spread of the H1N1 strain prompted many of the nations priests to suspend wine distribution and encourage members of the congregation to verbally give the sign of peace to one another.
The CDC recommends getting the flu shot, although getting your hands on one is proving difficult.
The CVS Pharmacy at Route 14 and Main in Barrington is currently out of the vaccine, as is the Walgreens Pharmacy at Route 14 an Route 59.