‘Tis the season: Influenza (or “the flu”)

‘Tis the season: Influenza (or “the flu”)
Posted on 01/10/2020
Health Matters

Minnesota is seeing widespread cases of influenza, including in our region.  I wanted to share influenza information with families as a reminder of symptoms and ways to prevent the spread of influenza.  

What is influenza?

This is an excellent influenza information sheet from the Minnesota Department of Health.  A reminder that the most common signs & symptoms of influenza include: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness), vomiting & diarrhea (vomiting & diarrhea are more common in children than in adults).  

How can we prevent the spread of influenza?

The best way to prevent the spread of influenza is to keep our hands clean, cover sneezes and coughs, stay home when sick, and receive yearly flu vaccines.  It is not too late to receive a flu vaccine!  

What information should be shared with the school?

If your child is ill, please consider using this influenza screening tool for parents and caregivers: English version, Spanish version.  This information is helpful when communicating with the school about sick children. 

If your child will be absent from school because of flu-like symptoms, please be specific when you call the school office to report an absence.  Please mention that he/she is absent due to influenza diagnosis, or for influenza-like symptoms.

When can children return to school?

Please do not send children to school who have had a fever greater than 100 degrees Farenheit in the previous 24 hours (make sure they have not had fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours as well).  Children should not come to school until they have had no vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours.  

If your child is recovering from the flu, please make sure they meet the above criteria AND that they are well enough to be able to participate in daily activities at school.  If your child was diagnosed with influenza, your child’s primary care provider will be able to help provide guidance on when your child can return to school.  

Please contact me with any questions.  I’m happy to help families navigate illness and provide guidance and support for when kids should return to school.  

Thank you for your help in keeping BEA healthy!

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