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  • Nurse's Tips
Jean Marie Howard

How do we protect our families from the flu? 

It’s difficult to miss all the information regarding this year’s unusually busy influenza season on the news and social media. We have been monitoring closely at school, and we are taking precautions as we can. Although we are hopeful that we are beyond the peak, there are still several more weeks of flu season to go, and there are always a variety of other illnesses circulating this time of year (strep throat, stomach bugs, cold viruses). With that in mind, I’d like to share a few illness prevention tips:

  • The flu I’ve seen in school this year seems to be hitting our friends quickly. If your child seems a little under the weather in the morning, consider monitoring at home for an extra hour or two before going to school. A common parenting technique we all use when our kids complain in the morning is, “let’s see how the day goes; try your best; sometimes we need to go to work/school even when we don’t feel 100%.” However, during flu season, consider temporarily lowering your threshold for keeping your child home. You remain the ideal judge of what is best for your child, but please be on the lookout for flu-like symptoms.
  • If you are sick, please stay home. If your child develops fever as part of any illness, state and school guidelines require that you keep your child home for at least 24 hours after they are fever-free without taking any medications for fever, pain, or cold/flu symptoms. I would ask that during the next few weeks, you consider keeping your child home a full 48 hours after being fever-free; this will help ensure that they are no longer contagious and that they have the energy to make it through the school day. Recovering from the flu is exhausting and takes time, and our kids learn best when they feel well.
  • Have family sick-day plans. We all lead busy lives! In the event we need to send your student home from school, please have a plan ready for someone to pick up as soon as possible. In addition to the benefit of comfort a family member or close friend can provide when they’re not feeling well, having a child wait for extended times at school puts others at unnecessary risk and makes it difficult for your child to get the rest he or she needs.
  • Do not touch the T-Zone! Germs enter our respiratory and gastrointestinal systems through our eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoid rubbing eyes, scratching your nose, and putting your hands in or near your mouth. Those wiggly teeth will wait, kids!
  • Control your cough! Please help prevent the spread of flu by catching a cough or sneeze with a tissue, your elbow, or a tissue.
  • Wash your hands well and often! Our teachers are working with kids in class, but a good lesson from Mom or Dad is always helpful. There are five steps to good hand washing: Wet, Get Soap & Lather, Scrub hands, wrists, fingers, and nails for 20 seconds, Rinse, and Dry. Try to keep these steps separate for the best results! If soap & water are not available, scrub with hand sanitizer as an alternate. Wash often, especially before eating and after coughing.
  • Exercise regularly, eat healthy foods, and stay hydrated with low/no-sugar drinks. These are ALWAYS good ideas to help keep us feeling our best! Water is great, but avoid drinking fountains when possible. Instead, bring a bottle from home and refill as needed. Although we clean them often at school, drinking fountains can be a hotspot for germs due to both the hands-on push for water and the close proximity of our mouths to the surface.
  • It is NOT too late for a flu vaccine. The vaccine is recommended for all adults and children ages 6 months and older. Those who have had a vaccine and have unfortunately also gotten the flu this year seem to be recovering much more quickly and easily than those who were unvaccinated. Even if you have already had the flu, the vaccine can help protect you from additional strains that may circulate in the next few months.

Flu prevention is in our hands as a community. Let’s work together to stay healthy!

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