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Wakefield, Let’s WHACK the Flu!

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It’s that time of the year, flu season. No one wants to get sick, but with the cold outside, and that kid you sit behind in class who coughs all the time, there is a decent chance you could get sick. Follow these tips to stay healthy from the Virginia Department of Health.

PREVENTION: The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. However, because the vaccine is not always 100% protective (due to changes in the virus that are not covered by the vaccine), it is essential to also promote school-based prevention activities to help reduce the spread of flu.

“WHACK the Flu” is a campaign which describes the key steps:

Wash (or sanitize) your hands often: upon arrival at school, before and after eating, after using the bathroom, and whenever hands get “yucky” from coughing, sneezing, or nasal discharge.

Home is where you stay when you are sick: until fever-free (without use of medication) for 24 hours.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.

Cover your coughs and sneezes: watch this video for proper sneezing techniques.

Keep your distance from people who are coughing and sneezing: and definitely don’t share food, eating utensils, water bottles, etc!

HOW IT SPREADS: Influenza and similar viruses are spread by coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Less often, a person might get flu by touching an object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose. Sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses may also spread flu.

SYMPTOMS: The most common symptoms of flu are fever or feeling feverish/chills and either a new cough or a sore throat. Fatigue, muscle soreness, headaches, and runny/stuffy nose may also occur. Some people – especially children – may also have vomiting and/or diarrhea. Please stay at home and do not return to school until fever-free (without medication) for at least 24 hours if you have symptoms. 

TREATMENT: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people in one or more of the high-risk categories listed above receive treatment either as soon as possible after they develop symptoms or, in some cases, after known exposure but before symptoms begin. Please discuss with a medical provider.

OTHER FACTS: Influenza (flu) is a contagious illness caused by a variety of types of influenza A and B viruses. Illness can be mild to very severe, and can even be life-threatening for some individuals. People with chronic health issues, such as asthma or diabetes, are more prone to the flu.

QUESTIONS:  Ask your School Nurse!

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