Two schools closed their doors this week due to a high number of Influenza (flu) related illnesses.
With a high number of absences, both Northwest Local Schools and the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disability school and service centers decided it was best to take a break, closing Feb. 23 and 24, with plans to re-open Monday, Feb. 27.
Both schools plan to use the time off to deep clean and disinfect both the buildings and the buses in an attempt to combat the spreading of the illness.
Reports released by the Ohio Department of Health indicate that weekly Influenza-associated hospitalization numbers have been above the seasonal threshold for several weeks.
The seasonal threshold is 25 cases of influenza-associated hospitalizations; historical data demonstrate that once the weekly count exceeds 25 cases, the number of weekly cases thereafter will likely not decrease until after the peak of influenza activity for the season.
In the 2016-2017 season, there have been 2,647 influenza related hospitalizations in the state. In week six, (Feb. 6-11) it was reported that there were 576 reported cases of Influenza related hospitalizations and two pediatric influenza-associated deaths.
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.
In order to combat the flu, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests these three tips:
1. Take time to get a flu vaccine — The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common.
2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs. — Try to avoid close contact with sick people. While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. If you are sick with flu symptoms, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. —If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.
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