COLD AND FLU SEASON
With the cold and flu season upon us it is important to keep our children healthy by following good health practices. Common symptoms of the flu include high fever, severe headache, muscle and body aches, chills, sore throat, exhaustion and dry cough. Children may also have nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Oftentimes, cold symptoms come on gradually and they include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat and hacking cough.
Usually, the cold and flu viruses are spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing. It is important to recognize the symptoms and know when to keep your child home.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR CHILD HEALTHY AND VIRUS FREE
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent your child from getting the flu is to take him/her to get a flu vaccine. The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and up. New Jersey requires all children ages 6 months to 59 months to have an annual flu vaccine while enrolled in school or childcare setting.
Talk to your child about practicing good health habits, such as:
-Washing hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song)
-Covering mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing-‐preferably into the inside of the elbow or with a tissue and disposing of the tissue immediately into the trash
-Avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth
-Eating a well-balanced diet and getting plenty of rest to establish a healthy immune system
You can prevent spreading illness to others by keeping your sick children home from school until they have been fever free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication). It is important for your sick child to get rest and drink plenty of fluids.
The novel coronavirus strain that has been in the news lately can also be prevented with good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, keeping your hands away from your face, and daily disinfecting. Frequent and proper hand washing is our number one line of defense against all circulating illnesses.
OTHER COLD WEATHER TIPS
This time of the year can be particularly rough on skin. Many children will experience chapped skin including cracked lips and raw noses. Please encourage your children to apply chapstick and lotion at home to prevent dry, cracked, and irritated skin. You may also send chapstick into school with your child. Using a humidifier at home can also help with dry skin and noses, and may even help the immune system function more efficiently.
It is important to keep your child hydrated, even though the weather is not hot anymore. Proper hydration will help the skin from becoming irritated and it will also help to prevent frequent headaches and nosebleeds. Sending in a water bottle with your child will help to remind them to stay hydrated.
WHAT WE ARE DOING AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN SCHOOL
Our custodians are hard at work making sure the school stays clean. Daily, the classrooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Particular attention is paid to frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, and faucets. We have a Curis Disinfecting Atomizer that helps to further disinfect the classrooms as well as several new antibacterial dispensers throughout the school.
Hand washing, hand hygiene, and proper coughing/sneezing techniques have all been discussed in the primary grade classes. These topics are reinforced by faculty members daily and posters to serve as additional reminders are hung in classrooms, bathrooms and throughout the building.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Jane Donlon RN, School Nurse, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-921-1394 ext. 36008.