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Divisions > Student, Family, and School Support > Student Services and Alternative Programs > School Health Services > Docs
Flu and Schools
  

1.  What is the Flu?

Information adapted from Epidemiology & Disease Control Program, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Influenza or "flu" is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by the influenza virus. It is not the upset stomach popularly called "stomach flu". The flu is highly contagious and is spread person to person through the air by coughing or sneezing. It is also spread by direct contact with infected people. Flu symptoms usually begin 1 to 4 days after being infected with the flu virus. Persons who have the flu might have chills, fever, cough, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, runny nose, and fatigue. Influenza or "flu" can be a very serious illness that causes pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus infections. More information about the flu can be found at:

http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/influenza/fluwatch/Pages/Home.aspx

http://www.edcp.org/influenza/index.html

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/qa.htm

http://www.cispimmunize.org/fam/Flu/fam_flu.html

Flu Fact Sheet

2.  What is the difference between the human flu and Avian or bird flu?

Avian flu is a disease caused by viruses that infect birds, and sometimes, pigs. Avian flu or "bird flu" is not a current threat in the United States but there have been some cases in humans in other countries during the past few years.There are many different types of influenza or flu viruses. When we talk about "bird flu" viruses, we are referring to the type of influenza or flu virus mainly found in birds. They do not usually infect humans. Human flu viruses are viruses that occur mostly in humans. Influenza or flu viruses are constantly changing, and so they might, over time, change so that they can infect and spread among humans.

Please go to the following site for additional information on the bird flu:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/facts.htm

 

In Focus
The most important thing you can do to prevent flu is....Wash your hands! Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing!

 

Questions About the Flu

3.  What can be done to try and prevent children from getting the flu?

Always remind children to:

  • Cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when they cough or sneeze—have them throw the tissue away after they use it.
  • Wash their hands often with soap and water, especially after they cough or sneeze. If water is not near, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Remind them to not to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs often spread this way.
  •  Excellent resources on preventing the spread of the flu can be found at:


http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/op/handwashing.htm

 

 4.  What will schools do if an outbreak of the flu occurs in my community?

School nurses and principals track absences from school and they will report high incidences of flu to both the school superintendent and the health department. The health officer, with the assistance of CDC, will work with the school superintendent to addresses how to handle the situation to best protect the school students and staff and the community.

5.  Who can I contact if I have more questions?

Please contact your family's physician and/or your local health department if you have questions about the flu OR

6. Pandemic influenza planning for schools 

The Maryland Deparment of Health and Mental Hygiene provides current information on pandemic influenza preparedness.  For information go to http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/influenza/fluwatch/Pages/Home.aspx

 

 


Contact Information
Alicia Mezu, Health Services Specialist
Maryland State Department of Education
Student Services and Alternative Programs Branch
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone:  410-767-0353
Fax:  410-333-8148
Email:  alicia.mezu@maryland.gov

 

 

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