Doctors and health authorities are warning families that the flu season, which typically runs from October to May, has become an aggressive and widespread battleground against illness this year.
With this in mind, Schalmont Central School District is providing information to parents and community members regarding the flu.
What are the signs and symptoms of flu?
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. The flu can vary in severity from mild to severe, and may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
What are strategies to protect against getting sick?
There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health and educate your children about these strategies:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into the crook of the elbow.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. In order to kill germs, health officials recommend washing long enough to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Use of alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Additionally, avoid sharing personal items, such as drinks, food or unwashed utensils.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- If you get sick with influenza, the Center for Disease Control recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
What should I do if I or my children become ill?
If you or your children become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact your health care provider particularly if you are worried about the symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.
If you or your children are sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading illness to others. As a parent, it’s recommended that you have a plan in place to care for your children if they become ill and must stay home. Ill persons should stay home even if they’re taking anti-viral medications.
The CDC recommends that people with influenza-like symptoms remain at home for at least 24 hours after there are no more signs of fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications). A fever is defined as a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher.
Where can I get more information?
Please contact your health care provider or the health offices in the school district. More information is also available from the Centers for Disease Control and the New York State Department of Health.
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) would like you to know that information regarding influenza and the benefits of influenza immunizations is free, accessible and available in different languages from several organizations: