MEMPHIS, Tenn. – – Oddly enough, these dangerous conditions actually have a silver lining. It turns out, this cold weather is helping fight the flu.
Dr. Manoj Jain, an infectious disease consultant, says kids packed together in a classroom can be potentially dangerous this time of year. He says a simple cough from just a few feet away can infect someone.
“One cough, two coughs, and then we have other school children who are all sick. Then, within a day or two, the entire class can get infected,” Dr. Jain says.
But thanks to the weather, most schools have been closed since Thursday.
“The snow days are good in the sense that there will be less transmission of the flu,” Dr. Jain says.
The needed break comes during a flu season that’s been pretty bad. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 20 kids have already died nationwide.
“The hospitals have been really inundated with the number of cases of the flu that are coming in,” Dr. Jain says.
Dr. Jain isn’t sure how big a help these snow days will be, but they’ll definitely have an impact.
“I think it will be helpful in the long run to decrease the number of cases of flu that we have,” he says.
That means Sarah Yarrow’s two daughters will have a better chance of not getting sick. They were out at the park today enjoying the snow away from the classroom, where the flu can strike. One girl is in 2nd grade. The other is in 4th grade.
“There’s lots of griminess at school, and they share all kinds of things. Although I tell them to wash their hands about a thousand times a day, they don’t do it,” Yarrow says, “The risk of getting the flu has definitely been decreased now that we can hang out out here in the snow.”
Dr. Jain says parents need to keep their kids home from school if they have flu. He says the same applies to adults.