Flu prevention: How local schools prepare for the season


It is the second week of the year and flu cases are already spreading rapidly throughout the country, with kids being the virus' main target.

Children are already in environments that promote the spread of the virus. In conjunction, they hold the virus for about double the amount of time as adults.

"Adults typically are considered contagious for about five days after being exposed to the influenza virus whereas children typically spread it for about 10 days after contacting the virus," says Heather Pfiel, a registered nurse at La Clinica in Phoenix.

How are schools preventing outbreaks? Medford School District's communications specialist Natalie Hurd says the schools spend time educating kids on the importance of simple hygiene.

"We try to integrate some of those messages around health into our everyday curriculum in teaching kids "make sure you wash your hands, make sure you cover your mouth when you cough", that kind of thing," says Hurd.

Aside from janitorial staff properly cleaning classrooms on the daily, teachers play their part in preventing the spread of flu viruses.

"I know a lot of our teachers, too, really go in and try to disinfect surfaces and items that students may be sharing," says Hurd.

Kids will be kids, however, who may be too lazy to wash their hands or forget to cough in their arm no matter how many times you tell them. That's why Pfiel suggests getting the flu vaccine as soon as possible, even if you have already had the flu this year.

"You may have contracted Type A for influenza and you'd still be at risk or contracting Type B. So if you've already had the flu, it's still a good idea to get the flu vaccine, and we're actually in the peak season right now."

Health professionals and the school district urge that a major way to prevent the spread of the virus is to keep your kids at home whenever they are feeling flu-like symptoms.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off