Thursday, December 14

Keeping The Flu Out of The Classroom

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     It is true that flu season is usually from November through March but in the middle of a flu epidemic is not the time to start teaching about flu and cold prevention. The time to learn is now, before there is any threat from these viruses.

     The first thing you need to do is to educate yourself on the flu. Late last flu season the world became alarmed by a new strain of swine flu that killed people world wide. There’s a lot of misinformation about this virus. The truth is:  your child is more apt to get the flu from the sniffling child across the aisle than from your neighbor’s pot bellied pig.  Get your information from a reliable source.

     Our first line of defense against the flu is the flu shot. Some people debate whether the flu shot is worth the risks. There is no correct answer that fits everyone. Discuss your individual benefits and risks in taking the flu shot with your doctor or pharmacist.  

     Whether you are a parent or a child’s teacher, make sure that your children know how to properly blow their noses, sneeze and wash their hands. (A note about hand sanitizers: Never consider hand sanitizers a substitute for hand washing. Use hand sanitizers as a compliment to hand washing.  Hand sanitizers will kill weaker germs and slow multiplication but hand washing washes away all types of germs including drug-resistant staph.)

     Disinfect surfaces around the home and classroom such as desks, door knobs and sinks to reduce the spread of germs through contact with someone with the flu who may have touched these surfaces. For most hard surfaces you can use 1 part chlorine bleach to 9 parts water in a spray bottle. For surfaces that bleach can damage use a disinfectant spray.

     Both parents and teachers are responsible for keeping our children safe from the flu and other illnesses. As parents, not only do we need to make sure that we promote flu prevention at home but we also need to make sure that our child’s teacher is aggressively dealing with this issue. As teachers, we need to be sure that our students’ parents are educated and actively promoting flu prevention at home.  We are all responsible for flu prevention in our schools.

   If you think your child has the flu or has an above normal temperature, don’t send them to school. If you’re a teacher and you have a child in your class who appears ill, get them out of the classroom and to the nurse’s office and away from the other children to prevent the spread of the illness.

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