February 22, 2017
We are beginning to see more flu and flu-like illnesses in our school. For that reason, we are being proactive and are working with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to monitor flu conditions and to make decisions about the best ways to protect our students and staff. DHEC tells us, for instance, that it is not too late to get a flu vaccine.
Our school is fortunate to have a registered nurse, Ms. Pinkham, who is monitoring students and watching for flu-like symptoms (temperature of 100 degrees or more, headache, muscle aches, sweating, sore throat, cough, extreme fatigue).
In addition, our nurse and our teachers also regularly emphasize health, hygiene and safety by talking about the importance of frequent hand washing; good hand-washing habits and good cough technique in order to reduce the spread of any disease. We also make sure students have easy access to tissues, soap and running water, or alcohol-based hand cleaners.
You can help, too. If your child complains about not feeling well, please check your child’s temperature before sending him/her to school. If your child has a fever of 100 degrees or more before you give him/her Tylenol, Advil, Motrin or some other appropriate fever reducing medication, keep your child at home. You see, adults can pass the flu virus to other adults up to one day before and three to seven days after symptoms start. Children, on the other hand, can pass the virus for longer than seven days after their symptoms begin.
Flu spreads when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes or talks sending the virus into the air. Other people then inhale the virus, which enters the nose, throat or lungs of a person and begins to multiply, causing symptoms of influenza. Less often, flu spreads when a person touches a surface that has flu viruses on it — a door handle, for instance — and then touches his or her nose or mouth. Once an individual is exposed to the virus, it takes one to four days (on average two days) for that individual to develop symptoms.
Once the fever breaks (this usually takes from three to five days) and your child no longer has a fever or sign of a fever without the help of Tylenol or another product, please keep your child home for another full 24 hours — even if your child is using an antiviral medicine.
Finally, we know how important your children are to you and that you want to know when your child is sick so that you can pick your child up from school. Please make sure that our school has your correct and current emergency telephone numbers. After all, we know that you don’t want your sick child spending hours in the health room because we can’t reach you.
James H. Hamby