Influenza (flu)
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Influenza (flu) in the Child Care Setting

Influenza

Influenza (sometimes called “the flu”) is a potentially serious viral disease that can make people of any age ill. Influenza can cause fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches. The influenza virus is usually passed when an infected person coughs or sneezes and another person inhales droplets containing the virus. Although most people are ill for only a few days, some have much more serious illness and need to be hospitalized. Thousands of people die each year from influenza-related complications. Most influenza-related deaths are in the elderly.

Anyone who wants to reduce their chance of catching influenza may receive the vaccination. Since the influenza virus changes frequently, yearly vaccination in October to early November is recommended for protection from influenza. Influenza vaccination is recommended for all adults in the child care setting, especially those who are in any of the following high risk categories:

• 65 years of age and over.

• Have chronic lung or heart disease.

•Require regular medical care for chronic metabolic (including diabetes mellitus), kidney, blood, or suppressed immune system diseases.

• Live or work with people who are in any of the above categories (or with children on long-term aspirin therapy.)

Any child 6 months and older can be vaccinated against influenza. Children in the following groups are at high risk of serious disease with influenza and should be vaccinated:

• Have chronic lung (including asthma) or heart disease.

•Require regular medical care for chronic metabolic (including diabetes mellitus), kidney, blood, or suppressed immune system diseases.

• Are on long-term aspirin therapy.

•Children who are in frequent contact, at home or in the child care setting, with people who are in any of the above high-risk categories should be vaccinated against influenza.

If a child or staff person develops a fever (100F or higher under the arm, 101 orally, or 102 rectally) AND chills, cough, sore throat, headache, or muscle aches, he or she should be sent home.

During an epidemic of influenza you should:

•Closely observe all children for symptoms and refer anyone developing symptoms to his or her physician.

•Make sure all children and adults follow good handwashing and hygiene practices, including use and proper disposal of paper tissues.

•Make sure all children and adults follow good handwashing and hygiene practices, including use and proper disposal of paper tissues.

• In large facilities, follow appropriate group separation practices.

• Closely observe all children for symptoms and refer anyone developing symptoms to his or her physician.

. •Notify parents.

Note: This information is not intended to take the place of your state's or locality's child care regulations and laws. In every case, the laws and regulations of the city, county, and state in which the child care facility is located must be carefully followed even if they differ from these recommendations.

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