Several CCS students have lab-confirmed flu, says school nurse

by Symptom Advice on February 6, 2012

By Jan SchultzThe Imperial Republican Several lab-diagnosed cases of influenza have Chase County Schools’ students at home this week or just returning to class. School Nurse Angie Paisley said the annual flu bug is showing up more among grade 7-12 students, several of which have the confirmed diagnosis after lab tests. two to three K-6 students have also been sent home, or stayed home, with symptoms, she said. the symptoms started showing up among students last week, Paisley said. They include the sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, dry cough or muscle aches. “They came in the morning fine and by afternoon they were sent home,” she said, one with a temperature as high as 102-plus degrees. Paisley said the best defense against influenza is keeping your immune system healthy. Besides getting a flu shot, those include getting enough sleep, adequate nutrition, regular hand washing and keeping your hands away from the eyes, nose and mouth. “Managing your stress level is another one,” Paisley said. the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department (SWNPHD), which covers Chase County, sent out a release Tuesday announcing the first lab-confirmed influenza case in their area had been reported. Director Myra Stoney confirmed later that day by phone the case was in Chase County. Stoney said, even though cases are now confirmed in this area, it’s still wise to get a flu shot.     “It’s still beneficial,” she noted. “It takes two weeks to get full immunity” from the shot. the flu season typically peaks in February. She said sometimes the focus for flu shots is with adults, or senior citizens, whose immunity may be compromised. “We forget about the youths sometimes,” she said. That hasn’t been the case at the Chase County Immunization Clinic, reports coordinator Chris Tomky, R.N. She suspects their clinic has given 150 to 200 doses of the flu shot this season to youths age 18 and younger. her clinic operates the second Saturday of the month at the hospital. a check with Chase County Clinic in Imperial shows they still have the flu shot available. Appointments are not necessary, but a doctor must be at the clinic at the time the flu shot is given. Stoney noted the SWNPHD office in McCook, located one block north of Arby’s, has recently been named a Vaccines for Children site, and now provide the immunization and flu shots for youths 18 and younger, as well, and they have them available. People should call the office at 308-345-4223. the flu shot is recommended by health departments for everyone six months and older this season. Stoney noted it appears this year’s season hasn’t peaked yet, so a flu shot is still a good choice. Many insurance companies now provide 100 percent coverage for the flu shot, too, since it’s a preventative effort.      It’s also important to stay home when you are sick, Stoney added, especially with a fever. People should not return to school or work until they are fever-free for a minimum of 24 hours, without fever-reducing medicines.Stomach flu also a problem School Nurse Paisley said they’ve been dealing with gastro-intestinal (GI) illness at CCS much longer than with influenza. “This is the main thing we’ve been dealing with for two to three months,” she said. Symptoms of that illness include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Stoney said sometimes influenza and “stomach flu” are viewed as the same. “Don’t confuse them. Influenza is in your lungs. GI attacks your stomach and/or digestive tract,” she said.

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