Several schools have seen an increase in students with influenza like illnesses (fever with cough or sore throat). It’s important to let your child’s school nurse know if you are keeping your child home with an influenza like illness(ILI) and/or if your child has been tested and is positive for the flu. Your child does not need to see the physician if they are sick with an influenza like illness, unless they have an underlying medical condition which would add to their risk or they are having difficulty breathing.
The most common symptoms of flu are fever with cough, or sore throat. Symptoms can also include body aches, headache, chills, runny nose and feeling very tired. Some people, especially young children, also have diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms last from a few days to up to a week or more.
How is flu treated?
People sick with flu should make sure to drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, wash their hands often and stay home to avoid spreading the flu to other people. Over the counter pain relievers may help people with the flu feel more comfortable. Children and teens with the flu should never take aspirin, because a rare but serious disease called Reye syndrome can occur. Do not give cough or cold medicines to children younger than 4 years of age.
Stay home from work and school if you get sick with a flu-like illness (fever with cough or sore throat) and avoid contact with others so the virus does not spread. Stay at home until you have been free from fever for at least 24 hours after your last dose of fever-reducing medication (like Tylenol, Advil or Motrin). For most people this will mean staying at home for about 4 days.
How does flu spread?
The flu virus is in the wet spray (droplets of saliva and mucus) that comes out of the nose and mouth of someone who coughs or sneezes. If you are close enough to a person with the flu (3 - 6 feet) when they cough or sneeze, you can breathe in the virus and get sick. Flu symptoms start 1 - 4 days (usually 2 days) after a person breathes in the virus.
Flu is spread easily from person to person. The virus can also live for a short time on things you touch like doorknobs, phones and toys. After you touch these objects, you can catch the virus when you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. Adults with flu can spread it from about one day before symptoms appear to about one week after. Children can spread the flu even longer after they get sick.
How can I prevent getting the flu?
- Get flu vaccine every year as soon as it is available. (It’s not too late) Folks 18 and over may still obtain the Flu Vaccine from the Braintree Health Department. You may call the Public Health, Nurse Jean McGinty and arrange an appointment. 781-794-8094
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the inside of your elbow if you don’t have a tissue. Throw tissues away and wash your hands. Always wash your hands before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Use household cleaners to clean things that are touched often, like door knobs, toys, and phones.
- Avoid close physical contact with people who are sick. Try to stay at least 3-6 feet from someone who is sick with the flu.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions
Jean Afzali MEd, BSN, RN, NCSN
Director of Nursing Services