Health Bulletin - Flu Alert
Flu seasons are unpredictable in a number of ways. Although widespread flu activity occurs every year, the timing, severity, and duration of it depend on many factors, including which flu viruses are spreading, the number of people who are susceptible to the circulating flu viruses, and how similar vaccine viruses are to the flu viruses that are causing illness. The timing of flu can vary from season to season. In the United States, seasonal flu activity most commonly peaks between December and March, but flu viruses can cause illness from early October to late May. Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through coughs and sneezes of infected people. Less often, a person also might get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose.
One of our primary goals is to take the steps we need to keep our students and staff well by preventing the spread of illness like the flu.
We must all work together to keep our children healthy. Please remember that you MUST keep your child home if he/she has a fever or has been diagnosed with a contagious illness such as the flu. Your child cannot return to school until he/she has been free of fever for 24 hours without being on fever any reducing medication. Following this rule will give your child time to heal and help us avoid spreading the illness to others.
Here are some tips we can all follow to help us and our children stay healthy as well as recommendations to help reduce the spread of flu in schools.
Encourage students, parents, and staff to get a yearly flu vaccine.
- The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each flu season.
- Seasonal flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older unless they have a specific contraindication to flu vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three or four influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The vaccine viruses are reviewed each year and changed as needed based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which viruses will predominate during the upcoming season.
Flu vaccination efforts should begin by the end of October, if possible.
- However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even in January or later.
- Cover coughs and sneezes, stay away from sick people (and stay home if sick) and wash hands often to help stop the spread of viruses, such as the flu.
- Treat flu illness to prevent serious complication; ask your healthcare provider about medication (antivirals) as soon as you notice flu symptoms. Antivirals are prescription medications that treat illness caused by viruses (antibiotics treat illnesses caused by bacteria; antibiotics are not effective against viruses). Antiviral treatments work best when it is started within 48 hours of getting sick. Treatment with flu antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and shorter and can lessen the risk of being hospitalized or dying for the flu.
If you have specific questions or concerns about your child’s health, contact your healthcare provider or consult your child’s school nurse.
Washington School 201-641-6760
Memorial School 201-641-6186