Green Country schools dealing with high absence rates due to flu

    Green Country schools dealing with high absence rates due to flu (FILE/KOKH)

    It's quiet at Wagoner Middle School... Too quiet.

    The reason it was so quiet Tuesday is because there was nobody there and the reason is illness. Too many people were coming into school sick, and the numbers were getting out of hand, so they closed down Wagoner Middle School and all the other schools in the district.

    The superintendent tells us that on Friday, 15 percent of their staff was out sick, and in two schools, about 25 percent of their students were out.

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    "I think the number of people are greater this year that have flu, and our more positive one that we've seen here is influenza-A," said Dr. David Good at Wagoner Family Practice.

    Dr. Good says strain A is one of the mildest versions of the flu, which is possibly why the number of people killed by the flu is lower this year. Still, 25 Oklahomans have lost their lives this season, and just within the last week, the number of people hospitalized has gone from a little under 200 people to more than 700.

    "We just need to take it seriously when your sick, make sure you see your doctor, and make sure it's taken care of properly," he said.

    So, why are more people getting sick? The CDC says the flu vaccine is not as effective this year as it has been in the past.

    "I think that is part of it," said Dr. Good. "It's just not as effective to the flu strains we're seeing this year. As a result, more people are getting sick even though they've had the vaccine. I do think the vaccine helps not to let the infection be quite so severe."

    That's why he encourages people to still get the shot, even now. As for you and your kids, the doctor asks that you please stay home for three or four days after you start feeling better to make sure that you or your kids are no longer carrying the flu virus.

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