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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:
- 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. Finally, if you think you’ve been exposed to the flu, talk to your parents about seeing a doctor.
- Mind Your Manners – Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing, and throw away your used tissues.
- What’s Mine is Mine, What’s Yours is Yours – Don’t share drinks, water bottles, eating utensils or cell phones with friends.
- IF POSSIBLE, GET A FLU SHOT
Many children are at higher risk for complications from the flu. Talk to your school nurse and parents about whether a flu shot is best for you
- 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.
- WHAT TO DO IF THE FLU CATCHES UP WITH YOU
If you do get the flu, you don’t have to suffer:
- Talk to Your Parents About Seeing a Doctor If you have flu symptoms, talk to your parents about staying home from school. Your doctor may decide to prescribe an antiviral medication, which can shorten the number of days that you’re sick.
- Talk to Your School Nurse – If you think you might have the flu while at school, visit your school nurse. Together, you can discuss your symptoms. If the nurse thinks you could possibly have the flu, he/she can notify your parents and request that you see a doctor.
With flu season here, many parents across the country are finding themselves caring for children who are sick with influenza. Children are two to three times more likely than adults to get sick with the flu, and on average, one in three children in the U.S. is affected by the virus each year. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) is working to educate parents about how they can keep their children healthy this flu season. Following is a simple three-step approach to flu prevention.
- Vaccination: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent flu is to get a vaccine. While October and November are the best times to get a flu vaccine, it’s never too late to get vaccinated. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective. There is plenty of vaccine still available, according to the CDC.
- Antiviral Medication: Prescription antiviral medication is an important adjunct to vaccination for flu prevention and treatment. If a child has been around someone who has the flu, a doctor can prescribe antiviral medication to help prevent the child from catching the virus. However, it’s important to contact the doctor fast, because children should begin taking the medication within the first 12-48 hours of exposure to the virus. If taken within that window of time, there is an 89 percent chance that antiviral medication will keep him/her from getting sick. A doctor can also prescribe antivirals to treat the flu, helping both adults and children feel better faster.
- Good Hygiene: Practicing good hygiene habits is a great way to help control the spread of germs like the flu virus. Parents should teach their children healthy habits such as:
- Washing their hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- Covering their mouths and noses with tissues when sneezing and coughing
- Avoid sharing drinks, water bottles, silverware and pencils
The CDC suggests that parents disinfect objects frequently-touched by children, such as toys. Parents should also keep children who have influenza at home. For more information, see the fact sheet “When Sickness Strikes.”
Teachers, staff, and parents can help slow the spread of flu by serving as role models for good hygiene practices.
WHAT IS THE FLU?
- The flu is caused by the influenza virus, which infects the lungs, nose and throat
- Flu can cause mild to severe illness, and sometimes, can lead to death
- Each year in the United States:
- 5-20 percent of Americans fall ill to the flu
- Children are two to three times more likely than adults to get sick with the flu, and they frequently spread the virus to others
- Young children are at the greatest risk for developing serious flu complications, as well aselderly and those with certain health conditions
HOW DOES FLU SPREAD?
- There are two ways to get the flu. Usually flu is spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing. Occasionally, people can get the flu from touching a germ-infested surface
WHAT ARE THE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF FLU?
Often we get confused about the symptoms of the flu and how they are different from a common cold. Knowing the symptoms of the flu is important and will help you act quickly to get your child feeling better faster
- Common symptoms of flu include: high fever, severe headache, muscle and body aches, exhaustion and dry cough
- Children often have additional flu symptoms that are rare in adults, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Symptoms of a common cold include: stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat and hacking cough
SIMPLE STEPS FOR KEEPING YOUR CHILD HEALTHY
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent your child from getting the flu is to take him/her to get a flu vaccine
- You should talk to your child about practicing good health habits, such as:
———–Washing hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
———–Covering mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and disposing of the tissue in a proper trash receptacle
———–Avoiding sharing drinks, water bottles or silverware with others
- You can help prevent the flu from spreading at home by disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, toys and other commonly shared items
- Also, if someone in your household gets the flu, a doctor can prescribe a medication – called an antiviral – that can actually prevent other members of the household from catching the flu
———–Studies show that some antiviral medications are up to 89 percent effective in preventing the flu when taken once daily for seven days
DON’T TAKE THE FLU LYING DOWN
- If you are concerned about your child’s flu symptoms, call your doctor early. Call your doctor immediately if your child has a chronic disease. Some children may benefit from an antiviral medication, which can be prescribed by a physician and can 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
- If your child has the flu, it is important for them to stay home from school, rest, and drink plenty of fluids
- Additionally, notify the school nurse Misty Elliott if your child has the flu. Monitoring flu incidence at Virginia Public Schools will help keep students, faculty and our community health
To: The Parents of Students at The Virginia High School
Re: Teen Abuse of Prescription Drugs and Over the Counter Medications
Please be aware of the following Stats:
- 1 in 5 teens has tried Vicodin, a powerful and addictive narcotic pain reliever
- 1 in 10 has tried OxyContin, another prescription narcotic
- 1 in 10 has used the stimulant Ritalin or Adderall for nonmedical purposes
- 1 in 11 teens has admitted to getting high on cough medicine
For more facts visit www.drugfree.org
Prescription and Over the Counter (OTC) medications are fast becoming the new “party” drugs for many teenagers. Kids are not mistakenly taking the wrong dose of legal medications or taking a stronger than necessary dose of medication for an ailment, they are ABUSING OTC and Prescription drugs to get a high.
Abuse of these medications is serious and can cause dramatic increases in blood pressure and heart rate, organ damage, addiction, difficulty breathing, seizures and even death.
Where do Teens get Prescriptions: The majority of teens get prescription drugs easily and for free, often from friends and relatives. Some buy them from a dealer, some are prescribed by their Doctor, some take them from a friend or relative without asking, and some buy them on the internet.
What can you do as a Parent or Guardian to keep teenagers safe from these life-altering drugs?
1. Hide prescription medications or lock them in medicine cabinets
2. Know how many pills are in a bottle and keep track of refills
3. Ask friends and family to safeguard their prescription medications and monitor their medication cabinets
4. Advise students to NEVER share medication with others
5. Ensure that students know how to properly use medications
6. Dispose of unused medications properly.
7. Talk with your child about the dangers of drug use
8. Educate yourself about the symptoms of drug use such as: Personality changes, mood swings, irritability, excessive energy, sleepiness or avoiding sleep, sweating, loss of appetite, forgetfulness, or clumsiness.
All students enrolled in school must meet Minnesota State Immunization Requirements. Please see the MN State Immunization Requirements.
Contact Misty Elliott, School Nurse Roosevelt and Virginia High School or Pam Peterson, School Nurse Parkview Learning Center if you have any questions regarding your child’s immunization status.