The flu is coming (and what you can do)
It appears that an especially hard flu season is unfolding in the United States this year. Though Iowa's incidences are currently sporadic, most states bordering Iowa are experiencing widespread flu. So it's on our doorstep.
But we don't have to simply wait to fall victim to the flu's effects. Schools can be proactive to prevent the unnecessary spread of the flu.
Here are some things students and staff members can do this flu season:
- Stay home when ill.
- Wash your hands often; avoid touching the face.
- Put hand sanitizer in each classroom and on the bus.
- Have tissues available.
- Teach the kids that when they cough or sneeze, they should do it into the elbow. For younger students, have them practice.
- Consider the design of your classroom, specifically working in pods. When children face one another, it magnifies the chance of spreading illness.
- Don’t forget the bus – it is a closed space which could allow for transmitting illness. Disinfect handrails, door rails – any handled interior surfaces.
- Clean surfaces frequently with disinfectant.
- Educate parents that children need to stay home for a full 24 hours after symptoms have dissipated and the fever is gone without the use of fever reducers.
- If you haven't already, get the flu shot. Even though the shot itself won't necessarily protect you from all the flu strains out there, the vaccination will reduce symptoms.
Schools also are reminded that they need to report absences of 10 percent or greater in each building to the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology.