The flu is currently widespread throughout our state, and we are seeing cases at Woods. It is not too late to get a flu shot. The peak number of flu cases will begin to rise in February and March, as will your risk of getting the flu. You can find a place to be vaccinated that is convenient for you at vaccinefinder.org
The flu differs from a cold by often coming on abruptly. People who have the flu will feel some or all of these symptoms: Temperature over 100° F, fever or feeling feverish/ chills, cough and/or sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, headaches, muscle or body aches, fatigue/ tiredness, and usually in children nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. (It is important to know that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.)
The circulating flu strains are very virulent this year. Please keep in mind that if you or your child is experiencing any difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, or if the flu symptoms improve but then return with fever or worse cough, seek medical attention in the ER or call 911.
If you think that you have the flu, please contact your Healthcare Provider. There are antiviral drugs that you can take to ease the symptoms of the flu, and they are usually most effective if used within the first 48 hours of illness. Antiviral drugs can lessen the symptoms and shorten the sick time by 1-2 days. They also prevent very serious flu complications like pneumonia. For people with a high-risk medical condition, treatment with antiviral drugs can mean the difference between having milder illness instead of a severe illness that can result in a hospital stay. For more info see: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm OR www.flu.nc.gov
According to the CDC, most healthy adults who have had a positive test for the flu can be contagious for 5-7 days after the onset of the flu. Children can be contagious for more than seven days after onset of the flu. To stop the spread of flu, please keep your child at home and ask your Healthcare Provider when it is safe to return to school or work.
Also, please remember that Woods Charter School's Sick Day Guidelines state that "students are not to return to school until their fever has been gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, and students with vomiting or diarrhea are to stay home for 48 hours after their last bout of vomiting or diarrhea."
Reduce the risk of infection and spread of flu by 1) Avoiding close contact with sick people. 2) Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, and discarding the tissue in the trash. 3) Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after you a cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand rub can be used. 4) Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, the T-zone. Germs can spread that way. 5) Staying home from work or school if you have the flu until your illness is over.
Lori Phillips, RN