Preventing Colds and Flu

With cold and flu season upon us, it is important that we work together to keep our children healthy. Viruses, including flu and common colds can spread easily among children in schools, and families with school-age children may have more infections than others. 

By keeping our children cold and flu-free, we benefit the community as a whole. You can help prevent the spread of flu and the common cold or help your child get better if he/she does get sick by following a few simple steps.

Help control the spread of germs (like flu and colds):

  • Get a flu shot to help prevent infection with the flu.
  • Use a tissue or shirtsleeve (elbow) when coughing or sneezing, not hands. Put used tissues in a wastebasket.
  • Clean hands after coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol based sanitizer is not typically effective in killing enteroviruses.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Germs spread this way.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and shared items frequently, using bleach-based products such as Clorox disinfectant wipes.
  • Stay home when sick and keep children home when sick.
  • Have a plan for how to take care of your child in case they become sick.
  • Children with a fever (oral temperature of >100 degrees F) must stay home until they are fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication and symptom free before returning to school. This is very important!

Flu is a serious illness and children with the flu should not come to school. Flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches. 

Cold symptoms, include stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat and, sometimes, a fever and/or cough. Colds often come on gradually, and are usually not serious. 

With either colds or flu, for severe symptoms such as high fever, wheezing or difficulty breathing you should contact your doctor immediately. 

If you are unsure about the symptoms, contact your doctor early.