The influenza (flu) season is upon us and will
continue for the next few months. Here are some important facts about
What is influenza?
Influenza (the flu) is an infection of the nose,
throat and lungs caused by influenza viruses. There are many different
influenza viruses and they change on a regular basis.
How do you get the flu?
Experts believe that the flu viruses are mostly spread
when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The droplets produced carry the
virus which can land in the mouths and/or noses of people near by exposing them
to the viruses. You can also get the flu virus by touching an infected surface
and then touching your own mouth, eyes or nose.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
The most common symptoms of the flu are fever, cough,
sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, nausea and
feeling very tired. Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea may occur as well. Not
everyone with the flu will develop all these symptoms and some may not get a fever.
Usually flu symptoms start very quickly.
How long is a person with the influenza virus contagious?
The influenza viruses can be spread from 1 day prior
to getting sick to a week after symptoms begin.
What is the treatment for the flu?
The flu is a virus so it cannot be treated with
antibiotics. There are antiviral drugs that can be used to treat the flu, but
they must be prescribed by a doctor and taken within the first 48 hours of the
onset of symptoms. These medications may shorten the length of illness from the
flu and prevent serious complications from the flu.
Children under the age of 18 should NEVER be given any
products containing Aspirin. Please check with your family doctor for treatment
How long should your child remain at home when they have the flu?
Children and adults should remain at home until they
are fever free for 24 hours without taking any fever reducing
medication (i.e. Tylenol or Ibuprofen). They should also feel well enough to
return to normal daily activities.
What can you do to help prevent the spread of the flu?
- Cover all coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or
cough/sneeze into your sleeve.
- Throw all dirty tissues in the trash immediately.
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently.
Alcohol-based hand gel can be substituted if soap and water is not readily
available but is less effective than soap and water.
- Wash all surfaces of your hands thoroughly. Make sure
you wash between your fingers and clean under your fingernails. Rub your hands
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent
the spread of germs.
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces such as
tables, doorknobs, bathrooms, water faucets, handles on cabinets, drawers and
refrigerators. The influenza viruses can live on these surfaces for several
-Most importantly, get a flu shot. IT IS NOT
TOO LATE! Vaccination is recommended for
anyone over 6 months of age. The current flu vaccine is a close match to the
current flu viruses affecting our area. Contact your family doctor or local
clinic to schedule a flu vaccine if you have not received one. The flu vaccine
is the best way to prevent the spread of the flu virus especially since people
are most contagious prior to showing any symptoms.
If you have any questions, please call your family
doctor or your school nurse. Your school
nurse can be reached at the numbers listed below.
Belmont Hills – Ext. 1105
Cornwells – Ext. 1205
Samuel K. Faust – Ext. 1305
Benjamin Rush – Ext. 1405
Russell C. Struble – Ext. 1505
Valley – Ext. 1605
Robert K. Shafer – Ext. 2205
Cecelia Snyder – Ext. 2305
Bensalem High School – Ext. 3005