February 13, 2017
The health of our children is very important to all of us. As you may know, the cold and flu season is here. At the forefront of this is influenza (flu).
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Signs and Symptoms of Flu
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
As with any other viral illness, the flu spreads easily from person to person, and school-age children are typically among the groups most affected. Therefore, we are taking steps to reduce the spread of influenza like illness in La Vernia I.S.D. Our thought is that a coordinated approach by parents and our L.V.I.S.D. staff will be our best strategy for keeping our students healthy.
Here are a few things you can do to help.
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleansers are also effective.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands.
- Teach your children not to share personal items like drinks or food.
- Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. Symptoms of the flu include fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit, 37.8 degrees Celsius or greater), cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, and feeling very tired. Some people may also vomit or have diarrhea.
- Keep sick children at home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have fever or do not have signs of fever, without using fever-reducing drugs. Keeping children with a fever at home will reduce the number of people who may get infected.
- Do not send children to school if they are sick. Any children who are determined to be sick while at school will be sent home.
- Get your family vaccinated for seasonal flu (available now) and H1N1 flu when available.
Suggested steps to prepare for the flu:
- Plan for child care at home if your child gets sick.
- Identify if you have children who are at a higher risk of serious disease from the flu and talk to your healthcare provider about a plan to protect them during the flu season. Children who are at high risk of serious disease from the flu include: children under 5 years of age and those children with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma and diabetes.
- Identify a separate room in the house for the care of sick family members.
- Update emergency contact lists.
- Collect games, books, DVDs and other items to keep your family entertained if your child is sick and must stay at home. Sick people should stay at home, except to go to the doctor’s office, and should avoid contact with others. Keeping ill people at home may reduce the number of people who get infected.
La Vernia I.S.D. follows recommendations set forth by The Texas Department of State Health Services and CDC to monitor flu conditions and make decisions about the best steps to take concerning schools. CDC recommends:
Those with flu-like illness should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines. They should stay home even if they are using antiviral drugs.
La Vernia I.S.D. recognizes the concerns parents have about the loss of academic time while their children are absent. Above all, the health of your children is our first priority. Please keep them at home if they are ill. Our staff and administration will coordinate with you to maintain continuity of learning. Please feel free to contact your child’s teachers via e-mail or by telephone.
We currently have plans in place to keep our school functioning as usual. Some of our plans include disinfecting commonly touched surfaces in our schools, enforcing exclusion practices for students and staff with flu-like symptoms and educating our students on the topic of hand washing and general hygiene. We will work with both students and staff in these efforts.
We greatly appreciate your time and assistance with our efforts to keep our community healthy.
Kasey Dickson, RN, BSN
Coordinator of Health Services