Kids are surrounded by germs all day at school, but there are a few questions parents can ask to help protect their children from the flu.
Let’s face it — children are germ factories. It’s easier for them to spread germs and get sick since they share classroom and other space inside schools, which means they’re at higher risk for severe flu-related complications.
Families and schools must work together to help prevent the flu and stop the spread of an outbreak once it occurs. Here are five questions to ask your child’s principal about the school’s flu prevention policies and procedures:
1. Does the school have a full-time nurse?
Many schools do not have a full-time nurse, so all staff should be taught the signs and symptoms of flu, emergency warning signs, high-risk groups, and what to do to in the event of an outbreak (e.g., separate sick students and staff from others until they can be picked up).
2. Does the school provide information to families on where to get the flu shot?
HealthMap Vaccine Finder is a free, online service where users can search for locations that offer immunizations.
3. What is the school’s policy on children with the flu returning to school?
It is recommended that children stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine. A fever is defined as 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
4. How are students educated on how to avoid the spread of germs and prevent flu?
Students and staff should be taught and reminded to stay away from people who are sick; cover their cough and sneezes with a tissue or bent arm; wash their hands often with soap and water for 15-20 seconds; not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth; and to stay home when sick.
5. How often are “germ hot spots” like desks, chairs, doorknobs, and bathrooms disinfected?
Germs can last on some hard surfaces for up to 48 hours. Daily disinfecting on surfaces and objects that are touched often helps to remove germs. Disinfecting things like desks, countertops, doorknobs, hands-on learning items, faucet handles, phones, and toys is important. Cleaning specific areas of the school daily, including bathrooms, is also recommended.
It’s also important that schools follow protocols to properly clean surfaces students and teachers encounter every day. To fully protect children everywhere they grow and thrive, it is important to follow these protocols and practice other flu prevention steps at home too. Together, we can help beat the bug and keep children healthy and learning.