January 22, 2018
Dear Parent/Caregiver and Staff:
As you may be aware, influenza season has arrived in the area. We have been notified that a number of children have become sick with influenza and/or influenza-like illnesses at your child's school. We want you to know that steps can be taken to control this important public health issue.
Influenza or "flu" is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that can cause mild to severe illness. Flu viruses usually spread from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something, such as a surface or object, with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. We recommend the following measures to prevent the spread of influenza in the school population:
- Encourage good hygienic practices
- Wash hands with soap and water often, especially after being around someone sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing or use your upper sleeve, but do not use your hands.
- Dispose of facial tissues that contain nasal secretions after each use. Wash hands afterwards.
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
- Routinely clean commonly touched surfaces, toys, etc. as recommended.
- Reduce the spread of illness
- Individuals should stay home from school, work and errands when sick.
- Students or staff who are sick should remain home until they are fever-free for a full 24 hours without the use of feverreducing medication.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about flu vaccination
- The single best way to protect against flu is to get vaccinated. All persons aged 6 months and older are recommended to be vaccinated annually, with rare exceptions.
- Influenza vaccination is usually 60-90% effective in preventing the flu in healthy persons.
- Receiving flu vaccine later in the season can still provide important protection since flu viruses can circulate as late as May.
- Most individuals will be protected against influenza within 2 weeks after vaccination.
- Antiviral medications
- These may also be used to prevent or treat the flu. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.
- Enhance influenza awareness
- Please see the enclosed fact sheet on influenza.
If you have any questions, please contact your child's doctor or the Warren County Health Department at 540-635-3159.