As educators and parents, we know that students must be healthy in order to do their best in school. We are keenly aware of how quickly an illness can spread through classrooms and entire schools. With this in mind, the news about the seriousness of the current flu season is of concern to us. At the end of December, 41 states had reported widespread cases of influenza. Because the virus is traveling from east to west, flu cases have just begun to appear in California. Therefore, before the flu is widespread in California, we wanted to remind families about proper precautions to stay healthy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone aged six months and older receive an annual seasonal flu vaccination. According to an analysis by the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 38 million school days are lost each year due to seasonal flu. A separate study showed an association between children being sick and parents missing work to care for them. These statistics exemplify why we encourage parents to visit their child’s health care provider, local health department clinic, or local pharmacy for a seasonal flu vaccination.
Please remember that stopping the flu starts with you. A flu vaccination is the best and most effective way to protect students, school staff, parents, and of course, ourselves.
Here is a list of everyday preventive actions:
- Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away after use and wash your hands. If a tissue is not available, cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve, not your hand.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.