HSE issue guidelines to help prevent spread of flu at schools
The winter flu has hit Ireland hard in recent months and it shows no sign of abating just yet.
Only last week, the HSE issued a map which showed the areas worst affected by the influenza virus in December of last year.
Now, the national health body has taken another step and shared guidelines that will be of use to both parents and children in the fight against flu this January.
Parents are urged to explain the below tips to your children so they can follow them when at school and hopefully, this will lessen the spread of flu.
- Teach your children to cover their mouth and nose with a paper tissue when coughing or sneezing. If no tissue is available they should cough or sneeze into the inside of their elbow. Be sure to set a good example by doing this yourself.
- Teach your children to use a tissue only once and dispose of it quickly and carefully (a dustbin is fine).
- Teach your children to wash their hands frequently with soap and water. Be sure to set a good example by doing this yourself. If they do not have access to hand washing facilities give them alcohol hand gel to use.
- Teach your children to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
- Teach your children to stay at least 1 metre/3 feet away from people who are sick.
- Children who are sick should always stay home from school. If they have influenza they should stay away from the educational institution for 5 days from the onset of symptoms.
- Wash hard surfaces such as kitchen worktops, door handles, etc with a normal household cleaner as the virus can live on these surfaces. Do this frequently.
Students are asked to put these tips into practice and also to avoid passing their possessions around as this can cause the flu to spread.
- Do not share wind instruments. Avoid sharing pencils, crayons, pens, toys/objects where possible and, if sharing them, clean them before passing them between students.
It's important to be aware of the exact symptoms of flu too which the HSE have outlined in full.
- Temperature 38 oC/100 oF or over that begins suddenly
- A dry cough
- A sore throat
- Muscle aches and pains
- A headache
- A runny nose
- Severe weakness and fatigue
- Vomiting/diarrhoea (in some cases)