With our 11th grade students out of class today for the SAT, students had the opportunity to explore what it might be like to work as a researcher tasked with understanding and ultimately stopping the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19. Students worked in pairs as Disease Detectives using the CDC “Solve the Outbreak” simulation.
One of the recurring questions from students yesterday was about treatment options for COVID-19. Students were reminded that people can be infected with multiple infectious diseases at the same time, such as influenza (the flu) or the common cold (rhinovirus) at the time they are infected with coronavirus. While supportive care (staying home in “self-quarantine” and having someone look after you to keep you as comfortable as possible while you are sick) is all most people need to fight off a cold or even the flu (influenza kills about 1 person for every 1000 people who are infected), getting the flu and coronavirus could cause a major health problem. To reduce the risk of influenza infection, there is a vaccine available every year which successfully prevents thousands of deaths from infection. In fact, horrible diseases that were once prevalent in our society (measles, mumps, rubella, small pox, polio, chicken pox, and more) are now quite rare thanks to vaccines.
With so many infectious diseases no longer prevalent, there has been a rise the last few decades in the number of healthy vaccinated parents who chose not to vaccinate their children. For our class today, we will watch the PBS NOVA video Vaccines – Calling the Shots and students will complete the associated worksheet. By better understanding the power of vaccines and the importance of limiting the spread of preventable diseases in order to protect those who, not by choice, lack immunity, we can also do our part to reduce our own chances of becoming infected with multiple infectious diseases at the same time.
Wondering about which vaccines you have received or might still need? Check with your doctor or the school nurse. For more information about vaccines and immunizations, visit the CDC website.
Can teenagers get vaccinated without their parents’ permission?