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Schools Prepared for the Flu

Posted at: 01/10/2013 7:04 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It's not just those over 65 who are being hit hard by the flu.

15 percent of those who needed to be hospitalized, were under the age of 25.

"Our community has seen so many positive tests for influenza, we can assume that a lot of what's out there now is truly influenza," said Mower County Public health Director Lisa Kocer.

And some of its ending up at school.

"We have three confirmed cases as of this morning. We do have a handful of kids who are suspected who are out at home" said Shaylie Meyer, school nurse at Southgate Elementary School in Austin.

The schools were hoping the holiday break would also give them a break from the flu. It didn’t happen.

"For our school anyway the day that we started up we were right at those high numbers again, so we really didn't have that curve this year," Shaylie Meyer told us.

"Normally peak flu season is February, so yes, we were a couple of months ahead of time," said Public Health Director Lisa Kocer.

Does that mean it’s too late to get the flu vaccine?

"Absolutely not,” Lisa Kocer said. “Actually that is still the best prevention and there's vaccine available in the community."

And you DON’T want to give up the chance to be protected.

"Headaches, body aches, chills, it's typically associated with a fever," school nurse Shayalie Meyer explained, listing the most common symptoms to accompany this year’s flu.

"The flu hits just hard, and then you feel a little bit better ... then it almost feels like it is coming back. That's just the way it's going this year," Lisa Kocer said.

And since the flu is highly contagious:

“Flu is spread through respiratory droplets ... sneezing, coughing, so cover your cough, every time you do cough wash your hands" said Mower County Public Health’s Lisa Kocer.

"The teachers right now are all going through hand washing techniques with the kids," Shaylie Meyer added.

But if you take all those precautions and the bug bites anyway

"Basically, stay home if you're ill," Lisa Kocer advised.

"We like to see them home from school if they have a temperature ... we like to keep them out for 24 hours after that fever breaks without any medicine," added school nurse Shaylie Meyer.

The CDC recommends that all people aged 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine.