Seasonal Flu and Cold

The seasonal influenza season is generally from December through March. When dealing with the flu or even the common cold, the most important thing that parents and school staff can do to protect themselves and our children is prevention.

Here are six good habits experts recommend to prevent any viral illness:

  1. Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too!
  2. Stay home when you are sick. Stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Cough into your elbow to prevent those around you from getting sick.
  4. Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you and others from germs.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  6. Practice other good health habits.

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods. Also, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs and light switches, especially if someone is sick.

If your children have cold or flu-like symptoms (fever—usually high, cough, sore throat, runny and/or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue--children especially may also have stomach symptoms, like vomiting and/or diarrhea) PLEASE KEEP THEM HOME! Do not give them Ibuprofen or Tylenol and send them to school, they will still be contagious!

To prepare for flu and viral illness during the school year, the CDC encourages parents to:

  1. Plan to monitor the health of the sick child and your other children by checking for fever and other symptoms of viral illness.
  2. Update emergency contact lists.
  3. 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.
  4. Pull together games, books, DVDs and other items to keep your family entertained while at home.
  5. Get your family vaccinated for seasonal flu.

Source: CDC Preparing for Flu: Communication Toolkit for School