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H1N1 reported in South Redford Schools

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  • H1N1 reported in South Redford Schools

    H1N1 reported in South Redford Schools

    By Larry Ruehlen • Observer Staff Writer • October 29, 2009

    The H1N1 flu has reached South Redford Schools.

    The district recently dispatched the following message.

    “South Redford School District, like many districts across the State of Michigan, has a few suspected or confirmed cases of H1N1 flu. The protocol for all ill individuals is to remain out of the school environment until at least 24 hours after being fever-free without the use of fever reducing medications. As a reminder, please discuss with your child the importance of proper hand washing, coughing, and sneezing techniques.

    Also, if your child develops flu-like symptoms, do not send them to school.”

    School officials did not indicate which schools the sick students attend.

    Terri Czerwinski, South Redford Schools health coordinator, said earlier that the district was prepared to “combat this bug instead of letting it attack us. But most young people don’t have immunities, so it is going to be difficult.”

    Widespread outbreaks of the H1N1 virus are now reported around the country. The good news is that most cases of H1N1 are mild. The bad news is that otherwise healthy children are dying in rare cases, so parents have to take this situation seriously, Czerwinski said.

    The H1N1 flu virus is contagious and spreads person-to-person the same way that seasonal influenza does. The virus has quickly spread worldwide and in June 2009 the World Health Organization declared a global H1N1 flu pandemic.

    After a summer of elevated flu cases, the CDC recorded as many flu cases in September as it does when flu season normally peaks in late fall or winter.

    Children, young adults under 25, pregnant women and adults 25-64 with underlying health conditions, like asthma, are more susceptible to falling ill to the H1N1 flu and are at higher risk for serious medical complications, including hospitalization and death.

    To date, millions of Americans have gotten the H1N1 flu virus and hundreds have died since the spring from H1N1 flu including 95 children.

    Since children are more susceptible to the flu and schools are an ideal location for the spread of any virus, much of the prevention effort is focused on area school districts. South Redford is working on two basic messages. The first is that children should wash their hands frequently and refrain from sneezing or coughing on each other. The second is the importance of keeping sick children home from school.

    “We can’t stress it enough,” Supt. Linda Hicks said. “If one child comes to school and spreads germs around, they get passed on to the next student. That’s what we have to avoid.”
    Health officials advise keeping children home for at least 24 hours after any fever has broken.

    “Students will have a day for every day they missed to make up work,” Hicks said. “But we are going to be flexible. We want to err on the side of caution.”

    Czerwinski advised parents to come up with a child care plan now, rather than wait until the day a youngster is sick. Getting over the H1N1 flu typically takes several days, but some cases drag on for more than a week, so parents must be prepared, she said.

    Health department officials have told school administrators to keep schools open during outbreaks but more and more schools are closing around the state as cases of the H1N1 flu increase.

    People who want the vaccine have had a difficult time getting it due to a shortage of shots available to the general public.
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela