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 County Office of Ed, School Districts, Health-Human Services Preparing for H1N1 Influenza

​The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for schools in August 2009. Recommended school responses for the 2009-2010 school year (Under conditions with similar severity as in spring 2009)

•Stay home when sick: Those with flu-like illness should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines. They should stay home even if they are using antiviral drugs. (For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/exclusion.htm.

•Separate ill students and staff: Students and staff who appear to have flu-like illness should be sent to a room separate from others until they can be sent home. CDC recommends that they wear a surgical mask, if possible, and that those who care for ill students and staff wear protective gear such as a mask.

•Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette: The new recommendations emphasize the importance of the basic foundations of influenza prevention: stay home when sick, wash hands frequently with soap and water when possible, and cover noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or a shirt sleeve or elbow if no tissue is available).

•Routine cleaning: School staff should routinely clean areas that students and staff touch often with the cleaners they typically use. CDC does not believe any additional disinfection of environmental surfaces beyond the recommended routine cleaning is required.

•Early treatment of high-risk students and staff: People at high risk for influenza complications who become ill with influenza-like illness should speak with their health care provider as soon as possible. Early treatment with antiviral medications is very important for people at high risk because it can prevent hospitalizations and deaths. People at high risk include those who are pregnant, have asthma or diabetes, have compromised immune systems, or have neuromuscular diseases.

•Consideration of selective school dismissal: Although there are not many schools where all or most students are at high risk (for example, schools for medically fragile children or for pregnant students) a community might decide to dismiss such a school to better protect these high-risk students.

H1N1 Vaccine

This year there are new recommendations for the flu vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine is available now or will be shortly. A vaccine for H1N1 will be available in the next month or so. All people should receive the seasonal flu vaccine (with certain exceptions) and youth and young adults ages 6 months to 24 years are in the recommended first group to receive the H1N1 vaccination. Several school districts are working with our Public Health Department to offer the vaccine at school. You will be receiving information from your district if they will be participating in this outreach effort. Both the seasonal vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine will also be available at clinics and from private health care providers.

Additional H1N1 flu information is available from the following:

World Health Organization (WHO) http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/

US Government http://www.flu.gov/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/SwineInfluenza.aspx

California Department of Education (CDE) http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/h1n1flu.asp

County of San Diego- Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/Portal/News/swineflu.html