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School Nurse » Flu Facts

Flu Facts

Nurse’s News

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Tips From Your School Nurse For Protecting Yourself Against The Flu Virus

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Don’t let the flu stand in the way of your school work, sports, extracurricular activities and social life.  Follow these tips to protect yourself:


1 Common sense can help you – and your friends – avoid the flu

      Group gatherings like football games, school dances, and even classrooms are ideal places for the flu bug to

       spread.  Protect yourself and others by following these simple steps:

  • Practice Healthy Habits – Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to help prevent germs from spreading.  Also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, because the virus can spread when your hands touch surfaces that are infested with germs. 
  • Mind Your Manners – Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing, and throw away your used tissues, or cough into your elbow.
  • What’s Mine is Mine, What’s Yours Is Yours – Don’t share drinks, water bottles, eating utensils or cell phones with friends.

2 If possible, get a flu shot

  • Combined H1N1/seasonal flu shots are now 3 Is it cold or flu? – Know how to tell the difference
  • If you have a stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat and a hacking cough, you probably have a cold.
  • If you have a high fever, severe headache, muscle and body aches, extreme tiredness and a dry cough, you probably have the flu.

4 What to do if the flu catches up with you

  • If you have symptoms of the flu such as high fever, severe headache, muscle and body aches, exhaustion or dry cough, you need to see a doctor immediately.
  • A doctor can prescribe antiviral medication to help lessen the duration of the virus and reduce the risk of complications, such as pneumonia.
    • To be effective, antiviral medication should be taken within 12-48 hours after flu symptoms begin.
  • Additionally, antiviral medication can also be prescribed for flu prevention, particularly with high risk groups, such as children with chronic conditions.
    • Studies show that some antiviral medications are up to 89 percent effective in preventing the flu if taken within 12-48 hours of exposure to the virus.
  • If flu symptoms don’t improve or get worse after three to four days, call the doctor immediately.
  • Also call your doctor if your child is feeling better and then suddenly develops signs of a more serious problem, such as stomach ache, vomiting, high fever, shaking chills, chest pain or coughing with thick, yellow-green mucus.

 

In addition to helping control the spread of flu, these Healthy Habit tips can be helpful in decreasing the spread of both viral and bacterial infections.

 

 

 

Nurse’s News:  Information to Share

*********************************************************************What To Do If You Get Sick: 2009 H1N1 and Seasonal Flu

**********************************************************************How do I know if I have the flu?

You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever over 100o F
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches especially in your back, arms and legs
  • Headache
  • Chills and sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

 

What should I do if I get sick?

If you get sick with flu-like symptoms this season, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.  Most people with 2009 H1N1 have had mild illness and have not needed medical care or antiviral drugs and the same is true of seasonal flu.

 

However, some people are more likely to get flu complications and they should talk to a health care provider about whether they need to be examined if they get flu symptoms this season.  They are:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially younger than 2 years old
  • People 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People who have:
    • Cancer
    • Blood disorders (including sickle cell disease)
    • Chronic lung disease (including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD)
    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • Kidney disorders
    • Liver disorders
    • Neurological disorders (including nervous system, brain or spinal cord)
    • Neuromuscular disorders (including muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis)
    • Weakened immune systems (including people with AIDS)

Also, it’s possible for healthy people to develop severe illness from the flu so anyone concerned about their illness should consult a health care provider.

 

There are emergency signs.  Anyone who has them should get medical care right away.

 

What are the emergency warning signs?

In children:

  •  Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking  enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

 

In adults:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

 

Are there medicines to treat 2009 H1N1?

Yes.  There are drugs your doctor may prescribe for treating both seasonal and 2009 H1N1 called “antivirals.”

 

These drugs can make you better faster and may also prevent serious complications.  This flu season, antiviral drugs (/h1n1flu/antiviral.htm) are being used mainly to treat people who are very sick, such as people who need to be hospitalized, and to treat sick people who are more likely to get serious flu complications.  Your health care provider will decide whether antiviral drugs are needed to treat your illness.  Remember, most people with 2009 H1N1 have had mild illness and have not needed medical care or antiviral drugs and the same is true for seasonal flu.

 

How long should I stay home if I’m sick?

CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours (/h1n1flu/guidance/exclusion.htm) after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other things you have to do and no one else can do for you.  (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine)  You should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings.

 

What should I do while I’m sick?

Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making them sick.  Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.  Wash your hands often to keep from spreading flu to others.

 

What can families, students, and school personnel do to keep from getting sick and spreading flu?

Families, students, and school staff can keep from getting sick with flu in these ways:

  • Practicing good hand hygiene.  Students and staff members should wash their hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing.  When soap and water are not available alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Practicing respiratory etiquette.  The main way that the flu spreads is from person to person in the droplets produced by coughs and sneezes, so it’s important to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.  If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into you elbow or shoulder, not into your hands.
(This information was obtained from the CDC- Center for Disease Control and Prevention & Mayoclinic.com)