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Madison schools face rising cases of flu

MADISON – It’s that time of year to stock up on tissue, nose spray and chicken soup. Flu season has arrived in Alabama, and Madison schools are feeling the brunt of sickness.

The Center for Disease Control and the Alabama Department of Public Health are reporting widespread flu activity in Alabama, Bonnie Davis said. Davis serves as Health Services/School System Nurse for Madison City Schools.

“Madison schools were thoroughly cleaned and sanitized over the break. The return of students, many of whom were in close contact with influenza sufferers over the holiday break, can quickly spread the flu to others if they are afflicted,” Davis said.

Case levels of influenza or flu are increasing across the state. An extremely contagious illness of the respiratory system, flu has symptoms that include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.

“This increased rate of flu activity is concerning because influenza can be a serious disease for anyone, including children, pregnant women and previously healthy young adults,” said Dr. Burnestine Taylor said. Taylor is Medical Officer for Disease Control and Prevention with Alabama Department of Public Health.

Davis reminded parents that the best way to heal from and prevent the spread of the flu virus or other illnesses is to keep a child home from school if he or she is sick.

Madison City Schools uses the following guidelines from the district’s Code of Conduct about deciding whether or not to let a child attend school during an illness:

* Temperature of 100 degrees F. or higher — A student must be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication before returning to school.

* Vomiting, diarrhea or both problems — These problems must have been resolved for at least eight hours before the child returns to class.

* Productive cough.

* Conjunctivitis (pink eye) — Students can return to school after having undergone a minimum of 24 hours of treatment.

* Streptococcal (strep throat) or other infection — A student can be readmitted at school with evidence of physician diagnosis and a minimum of 24 hours of antibiotic treatment.

“Other ways to prevent the flu and other illnesses is to encourage consistent hand washing, coughing into one’s sleeve or a tissue, proper rest and a healthy diet,” Davis said.

For more information about health warnings, visit alabamapublichealth.gov/news/2017/12/29a.html.

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