Action Steps for Parents to Protect Your Child and Family from the Flu this School Year
This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated. For updated information on the current flu season, see the CDC Seasonal Flu website.
February 17, 2010 1:00 PM ET
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 4 main ways you and your family may keep from getting sick with the flu at school and at home:
- Get your family vaccinated for seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder; not into your hands.
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing.
- Stay home if you or your child is sick for at least 24 hours after there is no longer a fever or signs of a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine). Keeping sick students at home means that they keep their viruses to themselves rather than sharing them with others.
If flu conditions become MORE severe, parents should consider the following steps:
- Extend the time sick children stay home for at least 7 days, even if they feel better sooner. People who are still sick after 7 days should continue to stay home until at least 24 hours after symptoms have completely gone away.
- If a household member is sick, keep any school-aged brothers or sisters home for 5 days from the time the household member became sick. Parents should monitor their health and the health of other school-aged children for fever and other symptoms of the flu.
Follow these steps to prepare for the flu during the 2009-2010 school year:
- Plan for child care at home if your child gets sick or their school is dismissed.
- Plan to monitor the health of the sick child and any other children in the household by checking for fever and other symptoms of flu.
- Identify if you have children who are at higher risk of serious disease from the flu and talk to your healthcare provider about a plan to protect them during the flu season. Children at high risk of serious disease from the flu include: children under 5 years of age (especially children younger than 2 years old) and those children with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes. See CDC's information on people at high risk for flu complications.
- Identify a separate room in the house for the care of sick family members.
- Update emergency contact lists.
- Collect games, books, DVDs and other items to keep your family entertained if schools are dismissed or your child is sick and must stay home.
- Talk to your school administrators about their pandemic or emergency plan.
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