LITTLE ROCK, Ark (KTHV) - The Arkansas Department of Health released new flu numbers this week, hinting to what might be a bigger problem than expected and a preview of what's still to come.
More than 10% of children missed school in Pulaski and Perry counties recently, so symptoms are indeed running rampant this season.
“Just the last two weeks, we've seen an uptick in our school setting,” said Nurse Laura Burrow at Sylvan Hills Middle School.
Winter break is over and kids everywhere are back in the classroom.
Unfortunately, that means only one thing for school nurses: more visits from children with flu like symptoms.
“Once one person gets its, they're really not sure if they're sick in the beginning,” said Assistant Principal Teresa Thomas.
She’s afraid attendance is now mimicking the domino effect. Staff and administrators are catching the virus as well.
"I myself have been a little ill due to various systems. Our lead principal has been sick as well. It has really caused a high level of absentee in our school,” said Thomas.
Burrow usually sends home five to 10 kids a week at her campus.
“There's 1,200 students in this building, so on average I may send home a few more. What we have been seeing is an increase in the number of students with fever, headache, and congestion. Those are all signs of influenza,” Thomas said.
It’s important for everyone to practice good hand hygiene etiquette, and cover coughs so that those around you don't get sick too.
“Sometimes at home we tend to get a little more sloppy. That can help everyone in the community if everyone is doing good hand washing,” said Burrow.
Parents you can also protect your child by staying up to date with vaccinations.
The outbreak is not bad enough to qualify as an epidemic like last flu season, but it's still important to protect your health and the health of those around you.