Flu season runs from the fall to the spring, and the typical flu season has spikes and drops in flu-like illness activity. Influenza ("the flu") is a contagious illness caused by a virus. Symptoms usually include a sudden fever with a dry, hacking cough or sore throat, and sometimes chills, body aches, headache, runny/stuffy nose, vomiting or diarrhea. A child with a common cold usually only has a low-grade fever, a runny nose and a small amount of coughing. For the health and safety of our school community, it is important to take the following precautions.
- Children with symptoms of the flu should stay at home. Keeping sick children at home is the best way to keep flu from spreading to others.
- Students with a fever may not return to school until at least 24 hours after there is no longer a fever (temperature 100°F or higher) or signs of a fever (chills, flushing) without the use of fever-reducing medicines such as ibuprofen or Tylenol.
- Students with diarrhea may not return to school until at least 24 hours after there is no longer diarrhea without the use of diarrhea-suppressing medicines.
- Please notify your child's school attendance office of the reason for their absence each day of the absence.
Rockwall ISD monitors flu-like illness in students and staff daily. Good health and hygiene habits are very important to the health of our students, staff and visitors, and are encouraged. Our custodial staff clean frequently touched surfaces daily, and also perform extra sanitizing measures in classrooms and areas where flu illness is increasing. Here are a few things you can do to help.
- Teach your children to wash their hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. You can set a good example by doing this yourself.
- Teach your children not to share personal items like drinks, food or unwashed utensils.
- Teach your children to cover their coughs and sneezes with tissues. Cover up coughs or sneezes using the elbow, arm or sleeve instead of the hand when a tissue is unavailable.
- Consider getting a flu shot. Flu vaccine is the best way to prevent getting the flu. If you get a flu shot and later get the flu, the flu shot can help make the symptoms milder.
- Keep sick children at home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have fever or do not have signs of fever, without using fever-reducing medicines. As much as possible, they should be cared for by a single, designated caregiver and have limited contact with other household members who are not sick.
Be mindful as you travel in other areas of the country for the holidays, and continue to practice good health habits, including frequent hand washing, for you and your family. For more information about flu, call 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit www.flu.gov or the American Academy of Pediatrics.