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The peak of the cold and flu season is upon us. There are even more students in our school who are ill with the flu virus. To prevent widespread flu outbreak in the school, we recommend that your child stay home from school if experiencing flu or cold symptoms. To decide whether or not to send your child to school, please consider the following guidelines.

Consider keeping your child at home for an extra day of rest and observation if he or she has any of the following symptoms:

  • Very stuffy or runny nose and/or cough
  • Mild sore throat (no fever, no known exposure to strep)
  • Headache
  • Mild stomach ache

Definitely keep your child at home for treatment and observation if he or she has any of these symptoms:

  • Fever (greater than 100 degrees by mouth and your child may return to school only after his or her temperature has been consistently below 100 degrees, by mouth, for a minimum of 24 hours without the assistance of medication)
  • Vomiting (even once, may return to school after being vomit free for 24 hours)
  • Diarrhea (return to school after 24 hours diarrhea free)
  • Body rash with itching or fever (may return to school free from rash, itching, and fever and has been evaluated by a doctor if needed)
  • General malaise or feelings of fatigue, discomfort, weakness or muscle aches
  • Frequent congested (wet) or croupy cough
  • Lots of nasal congestion with frequent blowing of nose

To help prevent the flu and other colds, teach your children good hygiene habits:

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Do not touch eyes, nose or mouth
  • Cover mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, use a paper tissue, throw it away and then wash hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Public health officials want you to protect yourself and your family against pandemic flu. Here are some ways to stop the spread of germs and sickness and take care of your family:

  • Keep children who are sick at home. Don’t send them to school.
  • If some of the people in your home are sick with the flu, keep them away from the people who are not sick.
  • If some of the people in your home are sick with the flu and you cannot see a health provider, some things you can do to help them are:
    • Have them drink a lot of liquid (juice, water)
    • Keep the ill person as comfortable as possible. Rest is important.
    • For fever, sore throat and muscle aches, in adults, use ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Do not use aspirin with children or teenagers; it can cause Reye’s syndrome, a life- threatening illness.
    • Keep tissues and a trash bag within reach of the sick person.
    • Be sure everyone in your home washes his or her hands frequently.

Contact a healthcare provider for further advice. If the ill person is having difficulty breathing or is getting worse, contact the healthcare provider right away.

Colds are the most contagious during the first 48 hours. A child who has a fever should remain at home until "fever free" for a minimum of 24 hours. A child who has started antibiotics needs to be on the medication for 48 hours before considered non-contagious and able to return to school. Often when a child awakens with vague complaints (the way colds and flu begin) it is wise to observe your child at home for an hour or two before deciding whether or not to bring to school. Your child should be physically able to participate in all school activities on return to school. Keeping a sick child at home will minimize the spread of infections and viruses in the classroom. Begin planning now for childcare in your home. Address these issues with your employers if they have yet to provide guidance in this area.

Thank you in advance for helping make this year at school as healthy as possible.