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Staying safe during a winter’s pandemic

Junior Ella Harris takes a tissue. Eagle photo by Sophia Perticarini.

Here is how to stay healthy as the flu season approaches

How you get a cough, a fever or shortness of breath this year can determine if you are appointed for quarantine, or to simply lie down and recover. 

COVID-19 has shown the world how to connect with each other when six-feet has to be obtained for safety protocols. However, there is a lurking problem in the corner: Influenza A and B, more commonly known as the Flu. 

The symptoms for both COVID-19 and Influenza viruses are similar, therefore misdiagnoses in hospitals will be on the horizon. 

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Nurses around the state of Ohio are having grave concerns regarding the condition of the hospitals, and how the patients are being treated in comparison. 

“It’s hard to tell what’s COVID and what is Influenza,” Aultman Alliance nurse Pam Dummermuth said. 

Dummermuth has been working through the pandemic on the front lines, seeing how it has taken a toll on individual patients. Not just in their physical health, but also mental health.

“People are feeling lonely because of the isolation methods that are used,” Dummermuth said. “Especially grandparents who cannot see their younger grandchildren.”

Dummermuth also mentions how people should not be frightened by the unknown facts about the virus, and how anyone could be affected, but to remain strong, and to trust the professionals.

“It’s not necessarily frightening, because I personally believe in the science of the pandemic,” Dummermuth said.

Along with Dummermuth, Mandy Mauer, an Akron Children’s Hospital Nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Aultman Hospital, agrees about the sciences of the virus, and how people should take responsibility for our actions.

“Society must be responsible for their own behavior, and do their part to stay healthy,” Mauer said. “With the masks and social distancing, Influenza may not be as bad this year.”

Mauer watches weekly updates on protocol changes to ensure the safety of her patients. Working in her department, she handles young infants and the care that is required to keep them safe. 

“Within our unit we get updates on protocols as they change,” Mauer said. “Criteria changes often on what to do if we are sick, but we thankfully have not had any babies with COVID-19.”

With the Influenza season approaching quickly, many students are concerned about how school is going to look like for the remainder of the year, approaching winter.

Career Tech nursing student Malia Anderson explains how she believes that it will be an interesting winter, and how we should do the best we can to look on the bright side.

“I think we will get more cases in the winter,” Anderson said. “It will get worse before it \can get better.” 

Seeing how schools have made changes in quick manners this year, Anderson also says how hard it is to follow the new protocols.

“It is a bit stressful because we are now back to a regular schedule,” Anderson said. “It is hard to practice social distancing because there are way too many people.”

The nurses at the high school are determined to keep everyone safe during the school changes, people coming back from online, and changes during hybrid. 

Tina Perrin, the newest nurse, watches protocol changes to see how the necessities of the students safety can be altered. 

“We watch for protocol changes concerning the virus daily,” Perrin said. “We also have frequent communications with the Stark County Health Department.”

Perrin says that as the numbers climb in the state of Ohio, she predicts that more tests will be needed for COVID-19.

“Since COVID-19 and the Flu share symptoms, I expect more COVID-19 testing being done,” Perrin said.

Perrin and Dummermuth say to not be frightened by the numbers, or the virus itself, but to continue to practice the procedures the state has required since the beginning of the pandemic. 

“We know winter will be busy and challenging, but not frightening,” Perrin said. 

As the pandemic is in full swing, keep in mind to stay calm and always stay informed on the facts of COVID-19, not so much the rumors of the virus.

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Staying safe during a winter’s pandemic