Fluids...fluids...fluids, flu battle has begun
by C.F. David

On a visit to the Cimarron County Rural Clinic you might find Dr. Pam Yoga and her staff dressed in paper smocks, surgical masks and gloves. "We don't want to catch the crud from you...or give it to you," said Yoga as she sniffed behind her mask.

Dr. Yoga thinks the flu situation in Cimarron County is serious. She pointed out that the Emergency Room in Guymon had seen 125 cases of the respiratory illness over last weekend. "We only have 15 to 20 beds," Yoga said.
Yoga points out that flu season is considered to run fron November through April, and with several ill early in the season, it might be an ordeal.

Yoga is also concerned that if the flu outbreak is severe nation-wide that the needed anti-viral medications will be in short supply. According to one study 36 thousand Americans die each year; in comparison the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) that caused a panic last winter claimed no lives in the U.S. The flu, according to one website, can be passed simply by sneezing, coughing or talking. Most local schools have had some students out with flu symptoms.

At Boise City High, according to Superintendent Mark Gillespie, 13 students were absent on Tuesday. In the Boise City Elementary School, 16 students were absent on Tuesday, with seven sick in the First Grade alone. The Boise City Seventh and Eighth grade were hit particularly hard, with nearly the entire basket ball team out sick on Monday.
In Plainview Elementary, two students were absent on Tuesday, down from the four ill on Monday. At Felt, four elementary students were absent, three in high school and none in junior high; one teacher was also absent.

"But there's a basketball game tonight; ask me tomorrow, because the kids will come on game day," the Felt spokesperson said.

The Keyes School District, according to Superintendent Ed Turlington, "We aren't hurting yet. But we'll probably see it next week; it'll be moving this way. We have a basketball game tonight at Felt; several kids will probably pick up the bug." Schools and their functions are often a breeding zone for influenza and on Monday Dr. Yoga was giving consideration to contacting school officials about the possibility of suspending classes to break the cycle.

Though Americans don't seem to take the flu seriously (It's estimated only 8 percent will get a vaccination.) the U.S. has a deadly history with the flu in 1918, 675 thousand Americans died from the flu. More than 20 million died world-wide, perhaps as many as 40 to 50 million. By some estimates India lost 20 million alone.

Yoga recommends bedrest, medications for fever and aching, a good anti-viral and..fluids, fluids fluids.