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|Routine flu, virus monitoring underway in schools|
Supt. Loretta Blankenstein said today there are no confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus -- also known as Swine flu -- within the Concordia Parish school system although precautionary measures, as always, are being taken.
She said "we will monitor as best we can and we have been getting a lot of calls."
"We did have one family from Vidalia report to school yesterday that their child possibly had the H1N1 virus," said Blankenstein. "The case is not confirmed. Test results take about a week."
She said precautionary efforts are always taken in the schools to prevent disease and illness.
""We do this every day," she said, "not just for this virus. We make sure desks, doorknobs and surfaces are wiped down continually. We have been advised to treat this like any other flu. Teachers and students should be sent home if they are sick."
Blankenstein said there have been cases of "strep throat, regular flu and stomach viruses going around. We watch the absences. Monday had a high rate of students out at Ferriday Junior High and Vidalia High but they were mostly due to regular illnesses going around."
She said absence rates will be monitored and "we have passed out information to principals given to us by the parish health department and other state agencies."
LSU AgCenter Family & Consumer Science Agent, Ashley Powell offered some tips for guarding against the virus:
"As we hear of the growing numbers of confirmed cases of H1N1 flu, there are a few simple precautions we can take to help prevent the spread of this virus. First of all, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Don't leave that tissue for someone else to pick up; make sure you throw it in the trash after you use it.
"Next, wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze or come into contact with someone sick. You can use alcohol-based hand cleaners if soap and water are not available. Try to avoid close contact with anyone that is sick. If you are sick, stay home and limit contact with others."
She said the Department of Health and Hospitals also recommends if "you or anyone in your family feels sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home and away from other people. Do not send your children to school if they display flu-like symptoms. Symptoms may include: high fever, body aches, headaches, coughing, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue and chills."
According to the Center for Disease Control, H1N1 viruses can be directly transmitted in the same way as seasonal flu, which is mainly person-to-person transmission through coughing or sneezing.
"People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose," she said. "Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes. Use disinfectant on commonly touched items, like light switches, door knobs and toilet bowl handles.
For more information, contact Powell at the Concordia Parish LSU AgCenter at 318-336-5315.
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