As the winter and holiday seasons draw near, we begin to see an increase in viral illnesses. We would like to share with you some practices that may help to decrease the incidence and severity of these outbreaks.
The flu season can range from November through March. Influenza (flu) and the common cold are both respiratory (breathing) infections caused by viruses. Some of the symptoms are similar and it can sometimes be difficult to tell if you have the flu or a very bad cold. Most people who have the flu will experience a headache, dry cough, sore throat, chills, muscle aches, severe fatigue and fever up to 104°.
Most people feel better in a couple of days, but the fatigue and cough can last for two weeks or longer. The flu is a respiratory (breathing) illness. You cannot have the “stomach flu”. Symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting are uncommon with the flu, except in very young children.
Colds usually begin slowly and normally last only two to seven days. You will first notice a scratchy, sore throat, followed by sneezing and/or a runny nose. You may get a mild cough several days later. Adults and older children usually don’t have a fever, but if they do, it will be mild. Infants and young children, however, sometimes run temperatures up to 102°.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that every person older than six months receive the flu vaccine. To decrease the chances of getting any virus, however, children should be encouraged and reminded to wash their hands frequently and avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth.
For your child’s well-being and for the protection of others, we ask that you keep your child home when:
- Vomiting has occurred within the past 24 hours
- Diarrhea has occurred within the past 24 hours
- Child’s temperature has been greater than 100° within the last 24 hours
- There are symptoms of acute illness (such as persistent cough, sneezing or runny nose, body
- There is a rash
- Eyes are red, itchy, crusted, or painful
- Child has had an earache for more than 24 hours
Thank you for your efforts in helping us decrease the incidence of viral outbreaks in our schools.