As we enter the cold weather, and the holiday season, we also begin to see increase in illnesses. Colds and stomach illnesses have been fairly common this fall; however, we are just beginning to see an increase in lengthy illness, with students being diagnosed with bronchitis, pneumonia and croup, in some cases due to Human Parainfluenza #3. I once again, urge you to consider getting your family vaccinated against the Flu. Below you will find some information obtained from Mass.gov.
Common symptoms of flu are nasal congestion, cough, and sore throat, which can be interpreted as viral cold symptoms. These symptoms are often followed by fever, body aches, headache, chills, and feeling very tired. Some people, especially young children, may also have diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms last from a few days to up to a week or more.
To stop flu from spreading, DPH recommends that people:
- Talk to their healthcare provider (call first) if they think they have the flu, especially if they have health concerns that make them more likely to develop severe illness when sick with the flu. The doctor may prescribe antiviral medications, which work best when started early in the illness. If symptoms do not improve or worsen rapidly, they should seek medical attention immediately.
- Get the flu vaccine as soon as possible. Vaccine is still available, and there is likely to be flu activity for weeks to come.
- Stay home when they are sick with fever and cough or a sore throat, if possible. People should stay at home until they have gone 24 hours without fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications.
- Wash their hands thoroughly and regularly, or use hand sanitizer.
- Cover their coughs and sneezes.
The flu virus is spread through droplets of saliva and mucus from the nose and mouth. If you are close enough to a person with the flu (3-to-6 feet) when they cough or sneeze, you can breathe in the virus and get sick. The flu virus can also live for a short time on things you touch, such as doorknobs, phones, and toys. Adults with flu can spread the virus one day before symptoms appear to approximately one week after. Children can spread the flu even longer after they get sick.
For more information about influenza, visit www.mass.gov/flu
Staff at both Morris and LMMHS do their best to wipe down desks, and use Lysol in classrooms. Cleaning staff at both buildings do their best to increase the cleaning of water coolers, hand railings, and doorknobs. I ask families to follow Student Handbook guidelines and keep student home until they are symptom free of vomiting, diarrhea, or fever for 24 hours, and you are seeing improvement in symptoms. Returning students should have minimal nasal congestion, a controlled cough, or if needed, having been on antibiotics for at least 24 hours. Masks are available in school Health Offices for both staff and student use at the discretion of the school nurse. Following our school handbook guidelines regarding illness can really make a difference in decreasing the illnesses that our students and staff acquire. Thank you so much for doing your part to keep our school community healthy.