The Flu: A Guide For Parents





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As we are in the middle of a very harsh flu season we are sending out some information about how to better keep your family and our campus healthy, as we have had a large number of fairly severe winter illnesses in these last few weeks. If your child has a fever or is very ill, please keep them home so they can heal. If you suspect a fever, but do not have a way to check, we are happy to check for you in the office. As always, we would greatly appreciate a phone call when your child will be out sick, and if they see a physician, a Dr.’s note is even better.

In order to promote the best environment for maintaining the health of all students and staff, we offer the following health information.

INFLUENZA (SEASONAL FLU) is an acute infectious disease of the respiratory tract characterized by abrupt onset of fever, chills, headache and muscle aches.  Nasal congestion and sore throat are common.  Cough is almost universal, often severe and persistent.  Usually a self-limited disease, with recovery in 2-7 days.  Complications can occur.

CAUSE: Strains of Type A and B influenza virus

SPREAD: Direct contact.  Airborne droplets can spread up to 6 feet away from an infected person’s cough, sneeze or talk.  Spread is also possible by touching surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching one’s own mouth or nose.

INCUBATION: Usually 1-3 days

CONTAGIOUS PERIOD: 1 day before symptoms develop to up to 5-7 days after symptoms.

SYMPTOMS: Start 1-4 days after virus enters body. Most common symptoms as noted above included: chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and fatigue. Not everyone with flu will get fever.  Influenza usually does not cause symptoms in the stomach or intestines, such as vomiting and diarrhea, but it can.

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT: Flu can be diagnosed by symptoms or nose swabs or sputum tests.  Contact Healthcare Provider within the first 2 days of symptoms to possibly obtain antiviral medication to lessen the severity of symptoms.   Treatment mainly involves treating symptoms: increased fluids, bed rest, pain/fever/cough medications.

EXCLUSION:  Yes, until no longer contagious.

PREVENTION: Good hygiene practices!

  • Receive annual influenza (flu) vaccine between Fall and early Winter.
  • Wash hands thoroughly and often.  Keep hands away from face.
  • Cover cough either with tissue or by coughing into the upper arm.  Dispose of tissue after single use.
  • Avoid touching or having close contact with people who are sick.
  • Do not share food, drinks, toothbrushes or eating utensils.
  • Clean and sanitize objects and surfaces that are used or soiled by infected person.

Please also refer to the attachments provided as well.

Everyday Preventive Actions