According to the New York State Department of Health, influenza, or the flu, is a serious disease that is very contagious throughout the U. S. each year, starting in the fall and continuing through spring.
The flu is caused by a virus and spread mainly by coughing, sneezing or close contact. Young children and older adults are at highest risk of getting the flu but anyone can get it.
Symptoms may include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
Some people may have vomiting or diarrhea; this is more common in children.
Tips to help prevent spreading the flu:
- If your child shows symptoms of the flu, keep him/her home from school.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water aren’t handy, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, not your hands. Put used tissues in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. That’s how germs spread.
- Stay away from people who are sick.
- Get a flu vaccine.
Parents should have a plan in place in case their child becomes ill/has a fever and needs to stay home or be picked up from school.