Many of our parents have asked what our schools are doing to combat flu and other illnesses that are currently impacting our community. The following information is provided to answer questions and include preventive actions we are taking.
Our nurses and medical technicians are monitoring absentee rates and causes for absences. Student absences are due to many different issues to include Mono, Strep, Flu, stomach bugs, and non-medical reasons and no one reason accounts for as much as 10 percent of absences.
We are in close contact with the North Central Health District Director of Epidemiology. There has been no recommendation to close schools. Recommendations are as follows:
*continuous cleaning of frequently touched items such as light switches, desks, pencil sharpeners, & door handles
*thorough cleaning of high traffic areas such as cafeteria, library, break rooms, & classrooms
*thorough hand hygiene, to include the safe use of hand sanitizer
*appropriate cough and sneeze etiquette.
Our custodians are being diligent and taking extra steps in their disinfecting procedures.
Every classroom is provided a cleaner that is most effective in neutralizing germs and disinfecting surfaces. Teachers are using this daily to decrease the spread of germs and viruses.
Our School Nutrition Program has instituted steps to reduce contact with germs by using disposable products when possible, cleaning tables more frequently, and changing serving utensils more frequently.
Parents have inquired about the use of masks; however, masks are not recommended by the CDC as a preventative measure. Masks are used in healthcare settings on symptomatic patients as a way to contain germs and viruses.
View the attachments at the top right hand corner of this page for more materials: CDC three-step approach to fighting the flu; letter from the state department regarding Influenza in the schools, a poster provided by the CDC that explains the difference between a cold and the flu and Q&A by the North Central Health District regarding common questions regarding the flu.
We hope this answers questions and helps keeps everyone healthy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Information provided by the North Central Health District
So how can I protect myself from influenza?
Stay home when sick until you are fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medications (i.e. Tylenol, motrin, etc.)
Get vaccinated with Influenza vaccine (still available at all local health departments).
Handwashing (Wash your hands under running water with soap for 20 seconds and if soap and water are not available use alcohol based hand sanitizer)
Use proper cough etiquette (cough into your elbow not your hand and wash your hands after)
Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated.
Is it too late to get the flu vaccine?
NO, it is not too late! Local health departments still have vaccine on hand and would be happy to provide this service for FREE.
I thought the flu vaccine doesn’t work this year?
Even if you get the flu after you have received the flu shot, it has been shown to reduce the severity of the illness.
My son/daughter/brother/mother/cousin/coworker/etc. was just diagnosed with flu, am I going to get it?
Influenza is spread by droplet respiratory transmission and the typical rule of thumb is anyone in the vicinity of 6 feet (which is how far infectious droplets can spread) from someone contagious is at risk. You are contagious up to 24 hours BEFORE your symptoms start and up to 1 WEEK after symptom start. The incubation period is between 1-4 days.
When should I go to the doctor?
Unless your symptoms are severe, like you’re are having trouble breathing, are not able to bring a fever down, or you have symptoms of dehydration like extreme weakness or dizziness, you should try to avoid medical facilities.
If you think you may have influenza call your physician within the first 24-48 hours of symptoms and ask for a prescription for Tamiflu. If they require you to come in to see the physician, ask if they can provide you a mask.
Once filled, call your pharmacy and arrange to pick up that prescription without actually going in (i.e., drive thru, family member pick up).
What are the symptoms of influenza?
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea but these symptoms are not common.
I have been diagnosed with flu, what should I do?
STAY HOME UNTIL YOU ARE FEVER-FREE WITHOUT FEVER-REDUCING MEDS (I.E. TYLENOL, MOTRIN, ETC.) FOR 24 HOURS!
I know this is hard to do, everyone is busy and wants to get back to work as soon as possible. This is the best way to stop the spread of illness.
Call your doctor about the option of Tamiflu (as soon as you can, as Tamiflu is only helpful within those first 48 hours). You may also want to ask for a prescription of Tamiflu for any household members as well, this may be helpful in preventing illness in your close contacts. Once filled, call your pharmacy and arrange to pick up that prescription without actually going in (i.e., drive thru, family member pick up.
What is Tamiflu? Is this a cure?
Tamiflu is a an antiviral medication that can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. It may also prevent serious flu complications.