Tips to Prepare for a Long, Severe Cold and Flu Season
Cold and flu season is upon us and state health officials report that influenza, also known as the flu, and RSV, a common respiratory illness, activity levels are expected to be high and prolonged this winter after COVID-19 safety measures kept infections low the past few years.
It’s important for families to keep their child home from school if they are feeling sick, and employees should also stay home if they are sick. The flu and COVID-19 are both spread from person-to-person, especially indoors and in crowded places.
What Symptoms to Look For
Symptoms for both viruses include fever, headache, and muscle and joint pain, as well as a sore throat and coughing.
RSV is a respiratory virus that has been detected in previous cold and flu seasons. Symptoms of RSV include cough, runny nose, and fever. Treatment consists of managing symptoms and, in severe cases, hospitalization.
Tips to Avoid Getting Sick
To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID, everyone can follow these important tips:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Consider wearing a face covering while indoors or in crowded places.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
- Get vaccinated every year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated against both viruses every year.
Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of developing complications from the flu and COVID-19. They include:
- People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and lung disease, even if symptoms are under control
- Pregnant women
- People aged 65 years and older
- People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for immunity to develop.
Resources for School Leaders
- SDCOE’s School Nursing webpage has template letters for parents, FAQs, and community resources on current health topics.
- The County of San Diego's influenza website has more information about the virus, vaccine clinic locations, and a weekly respiratory surveillance report.
- The California Department of Public Health has a communications toolkit for raising awareness about the flu and available vaccines.
More to explore
The winter holiday season can be a festive, joyful time, but holidays can also bring up big feelings for adults and young people alike. SDCOE gathered resources to support children and adults who may be struggling.
The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) has teamed up with the UC San Diego esports program to create a mentorship program for high school students focused on esports and gaming.
National Influenza Vaccination Week is Dec. 5 to 9. It's a great opportunity to remind the community that there is still time to get an influenza vaccine for those six months and older.
Represent the youth voice across the region as a member of the San Diego County Board of Education for 2023-24 as a student representative. Applications accepted now!
Community Music Center students and their families will celebrate their learning and achievement during the past semester at La Jolla Music Society’s Community Music Center’s Winter Recital, Dec. 7 at the Logan Memorial Educational Campus.
Nominations are now open for the 2023 Lighthouse Awards, which honor school and community leaders in equity, diversity and inclusion.