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Flu Season is Here

January 16, 2013

Clean - Wash your hands
Cover - Use a tissue or cough into your elbow
Contain - Stay home when you are sick

What are the symptoms of the flu?
Flu symptoms include:
• A 100 F or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
• A cough and/or sore throat
• A runny or stuffy nose
• Headaches and/or body aches
• Chills
• Fatigue
• Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

Although the term “stomach flu” is sometimes used to describe vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea, these illnesses are caused by certain other viruses, bacteria, or possibly parasites, and are rarely related to influenza.

ISBE: School Health Issues
Important Announcement Regarding Seasonal Influenza

The Illinois State Board of Education has had inquiries about the protocol for school closures in relation to influenza. ISBE has reviewed information from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and at this time, we do not recommend closing any school if such closure is being considered as a means to reduce the spread of influenza. The agency encourages any districts with a significant number of students or staff experiencing influenza like symptoms to work with their local health department to determine appropriate local actions.

The following methods, recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should be followed to reduce the spread:

• Students who are showing signs of influenza (cough, fever, chills, fatigue) should remain home and away from other students. They should stay home except if needed to go to the physician office. They should also remain away from family members who are very young (younger than 6 months), very old, or have other diseases such as asthma or lung disease that may make the symptoms of influenza worse.

• Students who show signs of influenza while at school should be isolated in a “sick room” or other office with appropriate supervision until a parent or guardian can remove them from school.

• Students and adults who are sick should stay home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone except to seek medical care or for other necessities. Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.

• All students should be taught to cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when they cough or sneeze. This will block the spread of droplets from the mouth or nose that could contain germs.

• All students and staff should wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

• Anyone over the age of 6 months who has not yet received a vaccine against influenza should do so. At this point flu vaccine may be harder to find now than it was earlier in the season. You may need to contact more than one provider (pharmacy, health department or doctor) to find available vaccine. The flu vaccine locator may be helpful to you in your search.

• If you do get the flu, there are antiviral drugs that can treat your illness. They are a second line of defense. This type of medication is not available over-the-counter so you will need a prescription.

More information about influenza can be obtained from: http://www.idph.state.il.us/flu/general_info.htm or