Shannon Christian

In this weekly blog, staff reporter Shannon Christian writes about the myths of healthcare and how it impacts students.

Dr. Germ: ’tis the season

As red and white lights appear on houses in the neighborhood and cheery music fills the chilled air, another season, less festive, dons society. During the latter weeks of November, and all throughout the Christmas season of December, influenza makes its rounds across the country. This year as well COVID-19 and strep throat have been plaguing many. 

Beginning around Thanksgiving, sickness begins to emerge, along with cold weather, and classrooms fill with sounds of sniffling and coughing amongst the holiday cheer. Many dismiss this as the changing of the seasons, and the changing of habits thereafter. In December, days become shorter and darker, as the weather becomes more cold and wet. While this explains the reason for sickness such as colds, bacterial and viral infections are not caused by weather. However, rain can serve as a mode of transmission as it carries objects, and the bacteria along with it to various locations, causing more spread to occur.

Between bacterial and viral infections, more viruses, like influenza, are more likely to be active in the winter season, infecting more people than in the spring or summer. Then, during the holiday season, people are more likely to congregate and spread illness. This includes schools as well, as there are more activities and shared foods during the month of December, with many classes hosting holiday parties that serve as a method of transmission for various viruses and bacteria. 

And just like Like the past two years as well, COVID-19 is a concern for many, especially those who are celebrating the holidays with their families and friends. While stronger variants like Alpha and Delta have phased out of prominence, the virus continues to evolve and spread, even reinfecting those who have already had it. The Omicron variant is still cause for concern in various continents, as its symptoms are relatively mild: sore throat and body aches not causing alarm in many who are infected. 

For this holiday season, it would be wise to self-test for COVID-19 before and after congregational events and parties to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If symptoms indicative of influenza are recognized (fever, sore throat, runny nose), testing for infection at a doctor’s office or urgent care would be immensely beneficial as the infected person can receive care, and with awareness, spread of infection can be reduced. 

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