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The Virtual Health Office

Influenza Information

Influenza, commonly called "the flu" is caused by the influenza virus, which infects the respiratory tract. Influenza is the leading cause of illness in the United States and can lead to serious medical conditions, hospitalizations or even death. Typically, influenza is seasonal, with the greatest number of cases occurring between December and March; however, influenza is unpredictable and may occur earlier in the fall or later in the spring. Influenza is very contagious and spreads easily in schools and communities.
People with influenza can spread the virus to others through the air, mainly by droplets created when they cough, sneeze, or talk. Less often, a person might become infected with influenza by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
Fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Most people with influenza have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. People identified as high risk for developing flu-related complications, like children younger than 5, adults over 65, and pregnant women, may be treated with antiviral drugs by their doctor.
The best protection against influenza is ensuring children and staff are vaccinated each year in the fall. Children and staff should be advised on appropriate times to wash their hands; e.g. after using the restroom, before and after preparing/handling, eating food, after contact with potentially contaminated surfaces/items, and after nose-blowing, coughing, or sneezing. Toilets, bathroom fittings, and other frequently contacted surfaces (including tables and toys) are advised to be cleaned daily; more frequently if visibly soiled. Clean contaminated surfaces with bleach based disinfectants. Use a chlorine bleach solution with a concentration of 1000-5000 ppm (5-25 tablespoons of household bleach [5.25%] per gallon of water) or other disinfectant registered as effective against influenza by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Helpful Health Information

A child shall be excluded from attendance at school when:

He/she exhibits one or more of the following signs of communicable disease:

  1. Temperature at or above 100 degrees F.
  2. Questionable skin lesions: oozing, purulent, crusty, itching, blistery, inflamed, bleeding or rashes.
  3. Variations in student’s normal behavior, e.g. unusually fussy, lethargic, irritable.
  4. Symptoms of abdominal discomfort, e/g. vomiting, diarrhea, pain, distention, excessive gas.
  5. Upper respiratory symptoms, e.g. coughing, difficulty breathing, sore throat, copious nasal discharge or green discharge from the nose.
  6. The child is suspected or known to have an infectious disease with high communicable potential.

A credential school nurse, either by phone consultation, or if available, will examine any child suspected of having a communicable disease and will make the recommendation regarding exclusion.  

This procedure has been adopted for the safety and well being of your child, his/her classmates and all staff members.

Help Fight Germs, Like Flu
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people
  • If you or your child gets sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you or your child stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • While sick limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  • If an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs, follow public health advice. This may include information about how to increase distance between people and other measures.

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