Deer Lakes

School District

Slowing down the flu

Public health officials have been warning the public since the fall that this year’s flu season would likely be the worst in nearly a decade.  Unfortunately, their predictions have proven true.  

Bloomberg reports more than 4,000 people died from the flu in a single week at the peak of the season. Of the 40,414 deaths in the United States during the third week of 2018, 4,064 were from pneumonia or influenza, the report said, citing CDC data. Since the season began in October, 84 children have died in the United States, according to CNN.

Since October, more than 61,000 Pennsylvanians have fallen ill from the virus. The particularly bad season is attributed to infections from a flu strain known as H3N2. It doesn't respond well to vaccinations and is particularly dangerous to young children and older adults over the age of 65.

More than 100 Pennsylvanians have died from the flu including two children and five young adults. Fifteen people aged 50 to 64 have died, as well as 85 people aged 65 and older. The latest data released by the state Department of Health includes cases reported up to Feb. 10.

While many people associate stomach viruses with the flu, flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue and can last for up to two weeks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most studies show that the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for only 2–8 hours after being deposited on a surface. Flu viruses are relatively fragile, so standard cleaning and disinfecting practices are sufficient to remove or killed them (School Guide August 2016).

At Deer Lakes, we have not experienced a flu outbreak like many other schools have.  Part of the reason for that is that we are always trying to stay ahead of any potential health hazards, including the flu, by regularly cleaning and disinfecting high touch services like desktops, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, faucet handles, soap dispensers, phones, keyboards, handrails, etc.  We also follow leading practice cleaning procedures and we match our sanitizing goals to the germs we are trying to remove.  Finally, we try to remove trash from rooms as soon as possible.

However, there are still things you can do to keep yourself healthy as we come down the stretch for this flu season:
  • Get your flu shot. It is not too late.
  • Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for approximately 15–20 seconds. Sing the Happy Birthday song as a guideline.
  • Dry your hands immediately after washing them.
  • Cover your mouth with your arm when you sneeze or cough. Try not to sneeze or cough 
    directly into your hands.
  • If you start to fall ill at work or school, go home as soon as possible.
  • Stay home if you are sick. Remain home for at least 24 hours after a fever breaks.
  • Sick students should not participate in afterschool activities or sports.
  • Ill students should not ride the school bus.

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