Influenza activity remains high across most of the United States according to Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) latest FluView report, and it continues to recommend hand washing and sanitizer as the best ways to avoid it.
But, says Murfreesboro City Schools (MCS) School Health Coordinator Meri-Leigh Smith, the best way to avoid the flu – and it’s not too late – is to be vaccinated.
The early onset of the season is likely why flu is as widespread as it is, Smith said, and MCS has followed that trend. No schools have had to be closed, however, and teachers and sanitation personnel are working to make sure it stays that way.
CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for people who have not yet been vaccinated this season and antiviral treatment as early as possible for people who get sick and are at high risk of flu complications.
Smith agrees and recommends the best way to avoid getting the flu is to keep hands washed and use anti-bacterial solution whenever possible.
“The flu is a respiratory disease transmitted by droplets in the air (from an affected person’s sneeze),” she said. “The symptoms can begin a lot like a cold with a headache accompanied by feeling tired and worn out.
It’s when fever sets in that you know it’s time to see a doctor, she said. Anti-viral medications like Tamiflu may be prescribed to help shorten ease the experience.
Children should see the school nurse when they feel sick, Smith said. If the temperature is elevated and there is a general feeling of malaise, the nurse will most likely call the parents to come get the child and advise them to see a doctor.
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, the affected person should stay home, she said. Except for Guam, which has reported no cases of flu and Hawaii, which has experienced sporadic activity, every state in the union has reported a high incidence of the flu, according the CDC. California, the District of Columbia and Mississippi are reporting “regional” activity only.