Flu and mumps has parents contemplating a healthy semester as kids head back to school

SEATTLE  --  Holiday break is just about over for school age kids and many students will head back to the classrooms Tuesday morning.

That has parents concerned, with the mumps outbreak in King County continuing to grow and the flu season rocking Snohomish County particularly hard.

“It’s worrisome because you want your kids to be safe and the younger your kids are the more it affects them, so yeah, it worries me,” says father, Bill Roberts.

Living in Auburn, Roberts is well aware of the mumps outbreak. He says his kids are vaccinated.

“The experts tell us that is the best way to protect them and you go by the best information you have,” says Roberts.

Peggy Shanhart’s grandkids are vaccinated, too.

“Hand hygiene is the best preventative. I’m a nurse, my daughter is a nurse, so we instill that in our kids and grandkids,” says Shanhart.

We know there are 108 mumps cases in King County, 83 of which are in Auburn. The remaining has been reported in Federal Way, Kent, Bellevue and the most recent case, at Nova High School in Seattle.

“We knew once it was in King County the spread of the communicable disease, especially in under or unimmunized population, was inevitable,” said Seattle Public School’s Health Services Manager Marie Debell.

While mumps is a concern and the vaccine isn’t a guarantee you’re safe, it’s not the only worry.

The flu season is off to a deadly start, where over the weekend, health officials say four people died from influenza in Snohomish county.

While all four were adults over 50 with underlying medical conditions, doctors say flu patients, of all ages, have been flooding clinics in Everett since the start of the month.

“Last week there were a total of 289 positive cases of influenza by testing,” said Dr. Yuah-po Tu from The Everett Clinic in Lake Stevens. “This is a shocking curve.”