ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) – Empty desks all over East Texas -- from schools and businesses to jails and hospitals, "the bug" is biting hard.
It's that time of year again. Some have the flu, others have a nasty respiratory infection. It may seem that everyone around you is sick.
"I would say in the last 10 to 14 days, we've seen higher incidents of upper-respiratory illnesses than we have in the last month," said Memorial Health System of East Texas Family Nurse Practitioner Sandy Harman.
The myth that says "If you're out in the cold, you may get sick," holds some truth to it.
"The flu virus actually replicates more rapidly in colder temperatures, so with the colder weather, it's common to see more cases of the flu," Harman explained.
There's 2,000 students in the Diboll school system. If is one absent, Superintendent Gary Martel knows it.
"If a student is not in school, you don't get paid for it," said Martel.
The district gets about $30 per student for each day they are in the classroom. If an entire class of 17 students is out, that's $510 the district is not getting for the day.
"My daughter was out earlier in the week, so I had to be out one day with her and so I've been worried that I would get it," said Christie Trawick, a second grade teacher at Temple Elementary School.
Trawick had three students out of her class Friday.
"It's crazy," Trawick said. "We were going to introduce multiplication tables this week and I haven't been able to do that...because I can't keep moving on with so many kids out."
The "bug" isn't confined to the classroom. In Nacogdoches County, Sheriff Thomas Kerss worries it could be a matter of time before the jail population is infected.
"Once it reaches our population then we have issues both with perhaps inmates that are sick as well as staff members and absentee is an issue because of illness," said Kerss.
So from the schoolhouse to the jailhouse, cover your mouth and wash your hands.
Health officials said bundle up if you're outside.
Also, getting plenty of fluids and eating a well-balanced diet will help keep you healthy.