San Marcos CISD elementary students praticing flu prevention hygiene.
Since the first day of school, San Marcos CISD (SMCISD), in cooperation with the Hays County Health Department, has made sure that preventative measures are in place to avoid the novel H1N1 (swine) influenza virus. Campus nurses are tracking all illnesses, including those with flu-like symptoms, and reporting them every week to the health department.
Local doctors and the health department are not confirming cases with flu-like symptoms because by the time the results are back from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), most people have recovered and returned to school or work. Because of this, all illnesses with flu-like symptoms are being treated in the same manner with the same recommendations.
Schools have posters placed around the campuses, most particularly in the bathrooms and sink areas, to remind all students Pre-K through Grade 12 about the importance of cleanliness and the proper procedure for hand washing and covering coughs. The SMCISD support staff is keeping all surfaces as clean as possible. Custodians have increased the disinfecting of bathroom and drinking fountain areas, doorknobs, computer keypads, and the like. The school district’s transportation department routinely wipes down the handrails and seats on all school buses.
The H1N1 vaccine has already been ordered by the school district, but it is not expected to arrive before mid-October. It will be administered in two doses, about a month apart. It will be available to all SMCISD students at no cost. More information will be posted on the district website at www.smcisd.net when the H1N1 vaccine arrives.
Health officials recommend that as many people as possible take advantage of the inoculations available for the regular “seasonal” flu this year, as that shot could offer some degree of protection against H1N1. Inoculations for the seasonal flu are available now at clinics and doctor’s offices. SMCISD worked with local H-E-B stores to provide community clinics for the seasonal flu on Sept. 29, Sept. 30, and Oct. 6. The cost for the seasonal flu shot is $25.
Remember that this is for the seasonal flu vaccine not the H1N1 (swine) virus.
The locations for the H-E-B sponsored Seasonal Flu Vaccine Clinics are:
Hernandez Junior High School from 7-9 a.m.
Miller Junior High School from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Goodnight Junior High School from noon – 2 p.m.
Bowie Elementary School from 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Travis Elementary School from 7-9 a.m.
Crockett Elementary School from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Mendez Elementary School from noon–2 p.m.
San Marcos High School from 2:30-5 p.m.
De Zavala Elementary School from 7-9 a.m.
Support Services facility (bus barn) 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Central Office noon–4:30 p.m.
The Hays County Personal Health Department (PHD) offers seasonal flu vaccinations at its regular clinic locations in Kyle at 150 Lockhart Road and in San Marcos at 401-A Broadway on Mondays from 1-7 p.m. and on Tuesdays from 1-5 p.m. The cost of the flu vaccine is $20. The pneumonia vaccine is $40. The San Marcos PHD clinic will also offer seasonal flu vaccinations on two Saturdays, Sept. 19 and Oct. 17 from 9 a.m.-noon. The H1N1 vaccinations are not yet available at Hays County PHDs.
Prevention, however, is the key to help prevent the flu whether it is the novel H1N1 or the regular seasonal version. The health campaign steps that students learn and practice in school should optimally be used at home as well. The CDC and SMCISD recommend several preventative measures to practice at home.
First, the simplest and most effective way is to wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Rub hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces for at least 20 seconds. A tip for small children is to sing the “ABC” song once or the “Happy Birthday” song twice while washing. It is the soap and the scrubbing that helps dislodge and remove germs. Regular soap is all that is needed. Anti-bacterial soap is not necessary. Anti-bacterial soaps are thought to be possible contributors to the growing problem of anti-biotic resistance.
If soap and water are not available, use alcohol based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers. These are regularly obtainable at most drug, grocery and discount stores. If using a gel, rub it in your hands until dry. Gel does not need water to work. The alcohol base in both the wipes and the gel is what kills the germs. They do not, however, remove dirt.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when people touch something contaminated and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth. Germs can live two hours or longer on surfaces like doorknobs, desks and tables.
Cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. It’s the viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs that cause illnesses like the flu. The flu spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes and the droplets move through the air and are deposited on people nearby. Always cough into a tissue and promptly throw it away. If a tissue is not available, always cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. Be sure to wash your hands (and your elbow, if possible) every time you sneeze or cough.
In spite of everyone’s best efforts, some folks will come down with the flu, seasonal or H1N1. If you or your child feels ill, stay home from work and keep sick kids home from school or daycare. Until there has been no fever greater than 100 degrees for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medication, the patient should not return to school or work.
There are anti-viral medications that can help reduce the severity and length of the flu. Check with your family physician for advice.
Flu symptoms include a fever greater than 100 degrees, cough, a sore throat with no other known cause, body aches, chills, headaches and fatigue. Some patients with the H1N1 flu also report runny nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
San Marcos CISD Nurse Dyanna Eastwood, sums it up: “Practice good hand hygiene, practice your respiratory etiquette, and stay home if you’re sick. This is for your own benefit and for those around you. Symptoms of the novel H1N1 are usually mild, especially if you take advantage of the anti-viral medications. If we all take responsibility for our own health, we can slow the spread of the virus, and deal with it effectively.”
For more information, contact the Hays County Health Department (Pricilla Hargraves, R.N. Director) at (512) 393-5520, Priscilla_hargraves@co.hays.tx.us or SMCISD District Nurse Dyanna Eastwood at (512) 393-6862, firstname.lastname@example.org.Email | Print