Information for Schools, Childcare Providers and Parents
Influenza causes more hospitalizations among young children than any other vaccine-preventable disease. The single best way to protect against seasonal flu and its potential severe complications is for children to get a seasonal influenza vaccine each year. Flu vaccination is recommended for all children aged 6 months and older. Making healthy choices at school and at home can help prevent the flu and spreading flu to others.
Encourage children, parents, and staff to take the following everyday preventive actions to prevent flu pdf icon:
- 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.
- 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
Fast Flu Facts
Adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Flu symptoms include fever, headache, chills, body aches, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, and nasal congestion.
- Flu is spread when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes, or speaks and sends the flu virus into the air. The virus enters the nose, throat or lungs of a person and multiplies. Flu spreads less frequently when a person touches a surface that has flu viruses on it.
- If you get the flu: rest, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid alcohol and tobacco.
- Antibiotics like penicillin will not cure the flu. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot. However, in October 2004, the American flu vaccine supply was cut in half. CDC and the U.S.-based influenza vaccine manufacturer have prioritized the populations eligible for the limited supply. Initially, priority populations include: hospital staff, long-term care providers, nursing homes, and private providers who care for young children. Additional priority populations eligible to receive vaccination with inactivated influenza vaccine include all children aged 6-23 months, adults 65 years of age and older, persons aged 2 to 64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions, residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, all women who will be pregnant during the influenza season, children 6 months to 18 years of age who are on chronic aspirin therapy, health care workers with direct patient care, out-of home caregivers and household contacts of children under 6 months of age.
- Over-the-counter medications may relieve symptoms of flu. The National Institute for Allergies & Infectious Diseases recommends acetaminophen (Tylenol) for children; aspirin or acetaminophen for adults. Decongestants, cough suppressants, and use of a humidifier can provide symptomatic relief.
- Three antiviral medicines are available by prescription that will help prevent flu infection: Tamiflu, Flumadine and Symmetrel.