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Tips to fighting germs

According to Mark Pyle, MD, at Banner Health Center-Verrado, in Buckeye, Ariz., a flu shot is key to protecting yourself from the worst illnesses of the season.

He also offers these tips to keep viruses from spreading:

  • Practice certain habits like sneezing or coughing into an elbow. Also, avoid contact with your own eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wash hands often, especially after blowing your nose or coughing. Be sure to throw away used tissues immediately. To properly wash hands, use warm water and soap. Scrub both hands for at least 20 seconds and dry with a single-use towel.
  • Dozens of surfaces in your home that your family touches every day could have germs. This includes counter tops, telephones, computer keyboards, faucets and doorknobs. Viruses can survive on these surfaces for several hours, so use disinfectant wipes or sprays to eliminate the offending germs.
  • Build up your immune system by eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Also, make sure you get adequate rest and exercise regularly to reduce stress.

By following these tips, you can hopefully reduce the amount of sickness in your family or the length of the illness. 

If parents recognize and quickly treat these conditions, the better chance our children will have a happy—and healthy—school year.



Respiratory infections, such as the flu and common colds (colds), are spread when people come in close contact with sick people and inhale airborne droplets, or come in contact with contaminated surfaces.  Flu and colds symptoms can sometimes be difficult to tell them apart, but consider this:


FLU

COMMON COLD

How it begins

Sudden

Gradual

Cough

Severe

Mild to moderate

Muscles

Achy

None to mild aches

Stuffy, runny nose

Sometimes

Common

Tiredness

Severe

Mild

Fever

None to high grade

None to low grade

Complications

Bronchitis/Pneumonia

Earache/Sinus infection

If symptoms persist or worsen, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to be evaluated.  The flu can be serious for children of all ages, causing them to miss school, activities, or even be hospitalized.  


We take the health of our students seriously and work very hard to keep these viruses from spreading.    We regularly clean frequently touched areas such as door knobs, stair rails, telephones, computer keyboards, and bathroom faucets and fixtures.  We also instruct students and staff to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Take 3 approach to fight the flu:

1.  Get the flu vaccine every year

2.  Take everyday preventative actions to stop the spread of germs:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available,

  • Cover coughs with a disposable tissue or cough into their sleeve,

  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth,

  • Avoid  close contact with sick individuals,

  • Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils, and

  • Stay home when sick.

3.  Take flu antiviral drugs if your healthcare provider prescribes them


You can help us maintain a healthy school environment in a variety of ways:

  • Make sure your children receive all recommended immunizations, including an annual flu vaccine,

  • Reinforce all of the above preventive behaviors practiced at school,

  • Make sure children get plenty of exercise, sleep, and healthy food, and

  • Keep sick children home, especially if they have a fever above 100o F, diarrhea, vomiting, or a severe cough.


A couple additional important points:

  • Notify your child’s healthcare provider if your child develops difficulty breathing or a new onset of wheezing, and

  • If your child has asthma, please make sure we have a copy of your child’s Asthma Action Plan.


Important information about preventing the flu can be found at these websites:

  • http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/children.htm and 2

  • www.preventchildhoodinfluenza.org/school.  

  • Find a place near you to get the flu and other vaccines at http://vaccine.healthmap.org/.}


If you have any questions, please contact the school nurse, Mary Gudewich RN, at mary.gudewich@gilbertschools.net or

(480) 892-8624 x305.  Together we can have a healthy school year!



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