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The Park Plague: Infecting Hallways Near You

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Every year around flu season, students slowly drop like flies from the attendance lists – sometimes for days at a time – due to the various illnesses that are spread, from the common cold to a stomach virus. This epidemic has been given a name by the students here at Wheeling Park High School: the Park Plague. The plague makes its rounds every few months, and this time of year is when it’s at its worst.

“The most common illnesses at this time of year are the common cold, the seasonal flu, and other respiratory illnesses,” Nurse Updegraff said. She advises students to “get the flu vaccine, wash your hands often, cover your sneeze and cough, stay away from large crowds if you are sick, clean and disinfect surfaces, get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and eat nutritious foods.”

While the nurse sees the Park Plague as a term students give to any illness that’s going around during the school year, students have their own thoughts.

“I definitely have it right now,” Bailee Spryn said at the time of her interview. “It’s so real, everyone gets it. It’s a beginning of the year thing; it never happens any other time. It’ll be gone in a month, but it’s real, it’s happening. I have to take Menthol Cold medicine every morning and it’s absolutely disgusting.”

“I think it’s very scary, I think it’s very real, and I think people that are trying to say it’s not are delusional,” Ayden Cottrill said. While he was sick at the beginning of the school year, he kept to himself, stored tissues in his bag, and drank lots of water. “If you’re really sick in the morning, it’s okay to not come to school. Don’t force yourself and make it worse. And don’t get it to other people. Don’t cough on people.”

De-yan Hairston would agree. “I think that people should start washing their hands more,” he said. “I think that’s a big part of it. People should also start covering their mouths when they’re sneezing […] right into the elbow like we were taught in elementary school.” He recommends drinking tea when sick, specifically ginger tea to help open up your throat.

“I drank a lot of soup,” freshman Zain Mocingo said. “Soup is delicious, man. At least drink some broth and some chicken noodle soup, maybe take an Epson salt bath, and try to make yourself feel nice. That’s how sickness can go away.” When asked about the Park Plague, they went on to say, “We need to get this figured out. [The school’s] always strict about us having attendance, but if we’re out sick with the Park Plague, we can’t be here.”

Other than their own at-home remedies, most students recommended drinking lots of water, taking some form of antibiotics, and plenty of sleep, no matter what form of the Park Plague you may have contracted. Remember to stay healthy and stay hydrated!

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About the Contributor
Shelby Gibson, Staff Writer
  • Journalism I
  • Senior (They/ Them)
  • Towngate Community Theater, Park Players, National Thespian Society, National Honors Society, Dungeons and Dragons with friends, and GSA
  • "Be the chaos you want to see in the world." --Mollymauk Tealeaf
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