There has been considerable discussion in the news again recently about the potential concerns of an H1N1 flu outbreak currently and in the coming months. The most important step we can take as a school district at this time is to communicate preventative measures with our community and put a plan in place should a flu pandemic reach our area at any time this year. So, to begin, I’d like to provide some helpful information that can be accessed at the Center for Disease Control website. Parents, if you’d like to see the entire document where all of the information below came from, you can access it at:
Or you can contact the Center for Disease Control at 1 (800) CDC-INFO (232-4636) or email@example.com
Mrs. Grigg, our school nurse, encourages all parents to call the school whenever their children are ill and let us know the signs/symptoms.
Here are some recommendations on what parents can do to prepare for a potential flu during the 2009-2010 school year
Plan for child care at home if your child gets sick or if school is dismissed due to a flu outbreak.
Plan to monitor the health of a sick child and any other children by checking for fever and other symptoms of flu.
Update emergency contact lists.
Identify a separate room in the house for care of sick family members. Consider designating a single person as the main caregiver for anyone who gets sick.
Pull together games, books, DVDs and other items to keep your family entertained while at home.
Talk to your school about their flu pandemic or emergency plan.
Get your family vaccinated for seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu when vaccines are available.
Here are Suggested Action Steps for Parents if School is Dismissed or Children are Sick and Must Stay Home
Be prepared to support home learning activities if the school makes them available. Your child’s school may offer certain types of distance learning. Have school materials, such as text books, workbooks, and homework packets available at home.
Have activities for your children to do while at home. Pull together games, books, DVDs and other items to keep your family entertained.
Find out if your employer will allow you to stay at home to care for sick household members or children dismissed from school. Ask if you can work from home. If this is not possible, find other ways to care for your children at home.
If school is dismissed, monitor the school’s website, local news, and other sources for information about returning to school.
Tips for taking care of children (and other household members) with the flu
Stay home if you or your child is sick until at least 24 hours after there is no longer a fever or signs of a fever (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine). Keeping sick students at home means that they keep their viruses to themselves rather than sharing them with others. Stay home even if taking antiviral medicines.
Cover coughs and sneezes. Clean hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often and especially after coughing or sneezing.
Keep sick household members in a separate room (a sick room) in the house as much as possible to limit contact with household members who are not sick. Consider designating a single person as the main caregiver for the sick person.
Monitor the health of the sick child and any other household members by checking for fever and other symptoms of flu. A fever is a temperature taken with a thermometer that is equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius). If you are not able to measure a temperature, the sick person might have a fever if he or she feels warm, has a flushed appearance, or is sweating or shivering.
Watch for emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention. These warning signs include:
Fast breathing or trouble breathing
Bluish or gray skin color
Not drinking enough fluids
Not urinating or no tears when crying
Severe or persistent vomiting
Not waking up or not interacting
Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Check with your doctor about any special care needed for household members who may be at higher risk for complications from flu. This includes children under the age of 5 years, pregnant women, people of any age who have chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and people age 65 years and older.
Have the sick household member wear a facemask if available and tolerable – when sharing common spaces with other household members to help prevent spreading the virus to others. This is especially important if other household members are at high risk for complications from flu.
Ask your doctor about antiviral medicines or fever-reducing medicines for sick household members. Do not give aspirin to children or teenagers; it can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye’s syndrome
Make sure sick household members get plenty of rest and drink clear fluids (such as water, broth, sports drinks, electrolyte beverages for infants) to keep from being dehydrated.
If your health department says that flu conditions have become more severe:
Extend the time sick children stay home for at least 7 days, even if they feel better sooner. People who are still sick after 7 days should continue to stay home until at least 24 hours after symptoms have gone away.
If a household member is sick, keep any school-aged brothers or sisters home for 5 days from the time the household member became sick. Parents should monitor their health and the health of other school-aged children for fever and other symptoms of the flu.