Kids in Waltham and across the state seem to be avoiding the swine flu this spring, according to Marie DeSisto, director of nurses for Waltham schools and director of the National Association of School Nurses.
On Friday, DeSisto
met with other nurse leaders at the state level to review other matters, but also discussed swine flu, or H1N1, at school, and she
said everyone reported ''it is not a problem at all.''
''We're not seeing any flu right now at all, as compared with last year, when we were inundated with kids (stricken with the flu),'' DeSisto
Last spring, DeSisto
estimated about 20 percent of all students at Waltham
High and the city's two middle schools were out sick with the swine flu at different points, beginning after April vacation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Department of Public Health
stopped testing for the virus in late May 2009, so sick students at the time were not confirmed to be infected with swine flu, but DeSisto
said they almost certainly had the virus.
Nurses at the time were seeing many children come down with the flu, and they knew it was the swine flu because seasonal flu does not strike in late spring, she
Students also acquired the flu in summer camp, again, at a time when seasonal flu should not be around, she
The median age of swine flu victims is 14 years old, DeSisto
The only group found to be immune to H1N1 are those born before 1918, who were exposed to the deadly Spanish flu, DeSisto
To prevent the spread of H1N1 flu, DeSisto
said, school officials kept each school stocked with hand sanitizer and ensured there was good ventilation.
Nurses educated parents and students about the flu, advising them to guard against it by eating well, getting enough sleeping, avoiding people who appear sick, and washing hands regularly.
''It looks like the vaccine and preventative care is taking care of (infections and spreading),'' DeSisto
said on Friday.