Second-grader with swine flu wasn’t that bad, mother says

Grand Junction mother Jennifer Boedeker-Hayde isn’t too concerned with the onset of swine flu.

Her second-grade daughter, Kate, was recently diagnosed as having the H1N1 virus. The girl spent a few days at home recovering from symptoms that affected her upper respiratory system.

“I’m not against vaccinations. It just really wasn’t that bad,” Boedeker-Hayde, a registered nurse, said of her daughter’s symptoms. “I feel like people are making such a big deal of it. If your immune system is already compromised, that’s different.”

The virus is probably spreading through local elementary and middle schools as more students are being reported absent.

However, it may never be known how the swine flu is affecting Mesa County residents, because not everyone who gets flu-like symptoms is tested for the presence of H1N1 virus.

The Mesa County Health Department tracks the numbers of county residents with the virus who have been hospitalized. Between Aug. 30 and Oct. 3, three have been counted.

Boedeker-Hayde said she took her daughter to the doctor to be tested for strep throat and requested the sample also be tested for the H1N1 virus. She learned her daughter carried the virus days after she felt well enough to go back to school.

Boedeker-Hayde said her daughter will not be vaccinated for H1N1 or the seasonal flu. Her child hasn’t been vaccinated in the past for the flu, as it was common practice to vaccinate among sickly children, but not for healthy people.

District 51 is reporting its numbers of absent students among eight elementary and middle schools to the health department, district spokesman Jeff Kirtland said.

Twenty to 30 students per school have been reported absent in the past week at Nisley Elementary School and the Dual Immersion Academy, the largest numbers of absences among the districts’ schools, he said.

It’s presumed the absences are related to the H1N1 virus, because the seasonal flu hasn’t yet hit the Grand Valley, Kirtland said.

There are no plans to shut down schools, though teachers and district staff are taking measures to keep flu viruses from spreading.

“We are very aware,” Kirtland said. “We’re calling parents and having them pick up students. Our custodial crews have been implementing their protocols earlier this year. We’re seeing a greater number of students out this year, I think, because parents are being more sensitive to them staying at home.”


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