Flu Season Preparedness
According to The Center for Disease Control (CDC), each year in the U.S., an average of 36,000 people die, and more than 200,000 are hospitalized from serious flu- related complications. It is very important that we emphasize to staff, students, visitors and parents the universally prevention methods that can help prevent the spread of the virus.
Influenza (Flu) is a contagious disease caused by influenza viruses, which spreads mainly from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes near others. People also may become infected by touching inanimate objects with flu viruses on it, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, desktops, and then touching their mouth or nose. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and complications can occur which includes, bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of preexisting chronic medical conditions, such as those with asthma, diabetes and heart conditions. Individuals aged 50 years and older, pregnant women, and young children are at high risk of having serious flu- related complications. Even if you aren’t at high risk for serious flu-related complications, if you get influenza, you may spread it to someone who is at high risk and potentially make them very ill.
CDC recommends vaccination as the best way to protect you, family and children against the flu. Not only does the vaccination help protect you from getting the flu; it also helps stop the spread of the virus to others at school/work and at home. The flu vaccine is safe and effective and cannot cause the flu. The flu vaccine takes about two weeks for the body to build up immunity to the flu after vaccination.
Health experts also suggest that another way to prevent acquiring the flu is by performing proper hand washing. Schools should maintain adequate supplies of soap and hand sanitizers for their students, staff, and visitors. CDC has made the following recommendations to help prevent the spread of the virus:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough
- Wash your hands often with proper hand washing techniques and /or use of hand sanitizers
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Stay home when you are sick and encourage parents of sick children to keep their children at home
Additional information may be obtained from CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/flu/school or by calling Marcia Bynoe, Director, Coordinated Student Health Services at 754-321-2274.