Stomach bug, strep not hurting attendance at school yet

Published 2:26 am Thursday, December 15, 2016

While there seems to have been an uptick in cases of strep throat and stomach viruses, local school officials say that for the most part, the illnesses have not made a great impact on attendance.

Still, local nurses are preparing for after the holidays, when a spike in sickness is projected.

At Andalusia City Schools, head nurse Melinda Carrasco said there was a rash of the stomach bug in the school system a couple of weeks ago.

“It’s about a 48-hour long bug,” she said.

Kristy Martin at AES said she was actually beginning to see a lot less of the stomach bug.

“We preach hand wash, hand wash and to cough in your sleeve, from the time they come to kindergarten,” Carrasco said.

Carrasco said that they have students with strep pretty much the entire school year.

“We aren’t seeing more,” she said.

AES is starting to see some cases of the flu.

Carrasco said that they anticipate that it will pick-up after the Christmas holidays.

Opp Middle School nurse Tracy Thompson confirmed they had had some cases of strep and flu.

Red Level School nurse Tammie Chesser said they have had the stomach virus and strep at RLS, but with no excessive absenteeism.

She reminded parents that children must be free of fever for 24 hours before returning to school.

Florala High School nurse Cheybrel Coleman said that colds and viruses are so common this time of year.

“But there are things we can do to minimize sickness,” she said. “Staying hydrated and eating well balanced meals are vital in maintaining good health. A weak immune system can make you more susceptible to infections so give yourself a better chance. Boost your immune system by getting adequate amounts of Vitamin C, getting enough rest and exercise. Good hand washing is also key in preventing sickness as well as passing it along. If you happen to get sick, it is important to not pass your germs to others, so don’t cough in to your hands (use a tissue or cough into the cuff of your arm, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, wash your hands as much as possible and do not share food or drinks with others.”

WS Harlan Elementary seems to have been lucky.

“We are really doing well at WSH, thank the Lord,” school nurse Jeanne Cheshire said.

She said it’s important for students – and those around them – to remember to wash their hands, cover you face with your arm for a cough or sneeze.

“Avoid close contact with people that are sick,” she said. “Avoid junk food, eat your fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean healthy proteins. Also, Omega 3 fatty acids and some spices are beneficial for decreasing inflammation.”