From Joy Copfer, R.N.
Attention Parents: Influenza is beginning to hit Ohio hard. Here is some helpful information:
What should I watch for?
Influenza has an abrupt startwith a fever, chills, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, body aches and tiredness. Nausea and vomiting may occur in children.
How is influenza spread?
Most experts believe flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. A person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.
When is a person with influenza contagious?
A person with influenza is most contagious 24 hours BEFORE the symptoms begin. Once symptoms begin children can be contagious up to 7 days and adults up to 5 days.
How long should they stay out of school and other activities?
Until fever is gone for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication and the student is feeling well enough to participate in routine activities.
What is the treatment for influenza?
Antiviral medications can shorten the course of illness if given within 36 to 48 hours after the symptoms begin. Influenza is a viral illness; therefore, antibiotics are not effective.
CAUTION: NEVER GIVE ASPIRIN OR ANY PRODUCTS CONTAINING ASPIRIN TO ANY CHILD OR ADOLESCENT UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE.
How can influenza be prevented?
It is not too late to get a flu shot. Clinics administer them either by injection or the nasal spray vaccine. The good news is this year’s flu vaccine is a close match to the current flu virus. Since you are most contagious PRIOR to having symptoms, the flu vaccine is the BEST WAY TO PREVENT the spread of influenza!
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm running water after contact with any secretions from the nose or mouth or handling used tissues.
Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or cough/sneeze into your sleeve (inside elbow).
Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces (door knobs, refrigerator handle, water faucets, cupboard handles, etc.)Studies have shown that human influenza viruses generally can survive on surfaces between 2 and 8 hours.
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