Since classified school employees are often the initial point of contact for sick children at school, it is important to understand what can be done to limit the spread of the flu and how to stay healthy in the process. Below is a list of precautionary measures you should take to reduce the risk of contracting the flu and other infectious illnesses.
Visit www.cdc.gov/flu for full information on the seasonal flu as well as a map showing current flu activity.
Take everyday preventive actions:
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months of age and older receive a seasonal flu vaccination, unless they have a specific contraindication to flu vaccine.
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.
Students and staff who appear to have flu-like illness should be sent to a room separate from others until they can be sent home. CDC recommends that they wear a surgical mask, if possible, and that those who care for ill students and staff wear protective gear such as a mask.
The new recommendations emphasize the importance of the foundations of influenza prevention: stay home when sick, wash hands frequently with soap and water when possible, and cover noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or a shirtsleeve or elbow if no tissue is available).
School staff should routinely clean areas that students and staff touch often with the cleaners they typically use. CDC does not believe any additional disinfection of environmental surfaces beyond the recommended routine cleaning is required.
See: How To Clean and Disinfect Schools To Help Slow the Spread of Flu (CDC)
People at high risk for influenza complications who become ill with influenza-like illness should speak with their healthcare provider as soon as possible. Early treatment with anti-viral medications is very important for people at high risk because it can prevent hospitalizations and deaths. People at high risk include those who are pregnant, have asthma or diabetes, have compromised immune systems, or have neuromuscular diseases.
These are our schools and our students. Let’s keep everyone healthy.