Grayson County Health Department officials attended a flu summit in Austin on Monday to make sure they’re ready for the upcoming flu season. And with local schools starting back in less than two weeks, they’re also preparing for the seasonal illness.
"We don't know what to expect but we're going to be prepared for whatever comes,” said Henry Scott, Denison ISD superintendent. “We’re always worried about kids when they’re sick.”
In addition to the seasonal flu, the H1N1 virus will also be a big concern when kids head back to the classroom.
Danna Denison is a nurse at Shaw Rue Pediatrics in Sherman. She is worried for the start of school because the flu never really died down from last spring.
"Be very prepared because it's august, we're still seeing flu, that's not natural, that's not common,” said Denison. “Flu is still being seen every day.”
The Centers for Disease Control released a new guide today describing some of the changes that school districts should take if they have a flu outbreak.
Last year school districts were advised to close whole campuses if a student or teacher had swine flu. Dr. Scott says that was because so little was known about the virus.
"It changed from last year, they had recommended that if you had a number of flu cases a school or school district to close school and now they're saying that they don't feel like that will be necessary,” said Scott.
The new guide from the Centers for Disease Control suggests much more practical options like regular cleaning in the classrooms and encouraging students to wash their hands often.
"We're still going to take precautions to have kids wash their hands, to clean furniture and the rest rooms,” said Scott. “And just alert them to the fact that they don't need any more contact than necessary that might spread germs of any kind, including the flu."
The CDC also changed it's recommendations for how long to stay at home. They now say if you have flu symptons to remain at home for at least 24 hours and take fever reducing medication. But once your fever is gone, you're no longer contagious.
But Denison says that kids don't always follow those hygiene rules and that parents should take extra precautions.
"I’m very worried, very worried, highly recommend that everyone get in and see your pediatrician,” said Denison.
Health Department officials suggest that everyone get the regular flu vaccine. The H1N1 vaccine will most likely be available in October. They said that pregnant women will be the first to receive the swine flu vaccine. And after it’s distributed to the public, people should get that flu shot as well.