Flu season still a risk

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This holiday break get a flu shot – that’s the advice this holiday season from area school nurses as students head off for Thanksgiving in the middle of cold and flu seasons.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Alabama is seeing regional influenza, or flu, activity. For area schools, that equals several positive flu tests, nurses said Tuesday.

In the Andalusia City School System, lead nurse Melinda Carrasco said to date, only a few cases have been reported at the middle school and none at the high school or elementary schools.

“What we’re fighting at AES is that horrible stomach bug,” she said. “So far, the flu hasn’t hit us hard yet. System-wide, it’s sporadic – or so far, so good.”

The same can be said for those in the Opp City School System, said lead system nurse Rita Drew.

“We’ve seen some, not a lot and not anything like year’s past,” she said. “This seems to be a more controlled season than normal. I attribute that to our vaccination clinics and pushing hand washing to students.”

Both nurses agreed that hand washing is key to fighting off sicknesses of all kinds.

“Overall, I’m hoping it will be a mild year for flu,” Carrasco said. “But you never know. We definitely recommend that – if you or your child hasn’t already been vaccinated – take advantage of the shot or the mist.”

Drew said, “With 500 kids in one building, all touching one door knob, it’s difficult to fight germs, but we constantly tell them first line of defense is hand washing.

As for this holiday break, Drew said she hopes students keep warm and well.

“The break definitely helps – if they don’t come back with something else all together,” she said.

If sick, students are asked to remain out of school until fever-free for 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

Flu vaccines are available from area physicians, pharmacies and the Covington County Health Department.