The 17-18 influenza virus became widespread throughout the United States during January 2018. This past flu season caught many people off guard because the flu vaccine wasn’t effective against this year strain. One of the most critical places to prevent the flu from spreading is school systems providing grades K-12. Within these school systems, there are approximately 55 million students and 7 million staff members. These numbers turn out to be one-fifth of the country’s population. There are many ways the CDC is advising schools to help reduce the spread of the flu.
First, it is encouraged to students, parents, and staff members to receive a yearly flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is recommended for those of the age six months or older. Research usually indicates the three to four influenza strains that will be most common during the flu season. The seasonal flu vaccine will then be created to protect against those strains. The flu vaccines are produced by different manufacturers and have an excellent safety record. Vaccinations usually begin being administered by the end of October and are typically given throughout the time the flu is circulating. The CDC recommends offering the flu vaccine to students and staff at the school.
Secondly, steps should be taken every day to prevent the spread of germs throughout the school. If students and staff do become ill, let them know the importance of staying home at least 24 hours after the fever has passed or the signs of fever have passed without fever-reducing medicine. The CDC recommends giving flexible sick leave and does not offer perfect attendance awards. By doing this, students and staff don’t feel pressured to go to school while they are sick. Be sure to teach faculty and students to cough and sneeze into a tissue or their arm. Make sure to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, and to dry hands with a paper towel. They should use that paper towel to turn off the faucets and open/close doors. It is also essential to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. It is important to disinfect surfaces consistently. Desks, counter tops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, etc., are a few of the items that are touched the most that need to be cleaned regularly.
Lastly, it is essential to know what to do if someone does get sick. Everyone should know that signs and symptoms of the flu. If you show symptoms of the flu while at school, you should leave early to go home and rest. If they are waiting for a ride, students should be separated from healthy students to prevent the flu from spreading.
Safetec of America, Inc. manufactures infection control products that can help prevent the spread of widespread germs. SaniZide Pro surface disinfectant comes in a spray and a wipe. These products could be used on all hard, non-porous surfaces that are typically treated with a disinfectant. Safetec also carries a line of hand hygiene products. The Instant Hand Sanitizer (fresh and Citrus scent) contains Aloe Vera, leaving your hands feeling soft and healthy with no sticky residue. Safetec’s SaniWash Antimicrobial Hand Soap also contains Aloe Vera and meets OSHA and APIC hand washing recommendations. Let us help you get a jump-start on your flu season prevention practices.