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66% of flu cases involve young Hoosiers, how schools are taking precautions

School nurse
Posted at 6:00 PM, Dec 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-06 18:27:12-05

LAWRENCE — School nurses are often on the frontlines when kids get sick. As influenza cases continue to climb, the main thing a Lawrence school nurses tells us she is seeing is influenza.

Michelle Weber’s clinic at Forest Glen Elementary in MSD of Lawrence Township is busy this flu and cold season.

“We’re definitely seeing lots of little kids and their bodies are handling it and they’re spreading it around,” Weber said.

The school nurse notes right now, she is seeing lots of Influenza A cases among students. Her first case of the season was back in September.

“If we have a positive case of flu reported to me I then need to go back and look at other students in my classrooms. I do have immunocompromised students that i need to inform their parents that they had exposure,” Weber said.

Flu spread is “very high", according to theIndiana Department of Health. In its latest flu report, 66% of flu cases are in Hoosiers 24-years-old and younger.

When it comes to hospital beds, data provided by the Indiana Hospital Association shows, are filling up. IHA reports 60% of inpatient and 65% of ICU pediatric beds are occupied.

“We’re concerned the numbers will continue to rise the next few weeks especially if we head into the Christmas season,” Shandy Dearth with IU’s Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health said.

The big push from Weber and local experts is the same — stay home when sick, wear a mask if you’re sick and practice good hand washing.

“’Tis the season for taking precautions, I guess, is what I would say to people,” Regenstrief Institute’s Dr. Brian Dixon said.

As for Weber, she said she is prepared for whatever may come next.

“We’re on the frontlines. We usually see the patient before the doctor see them or we’re the people guiding them to the doctor, so those doctor’s offices are full because of us,” Weber said.