Dr. Shaunette Parker, My SC Education
According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, there have been 81,071 reported cases of influenza reported in South Carolina. The number is likely higher because not everyone goes to the doctor when they have the flu. The South Carolina DHEC has created a weekly report that provides useful data on our current flu season.
You probably don’t need the statistical data to tell you that this has been a very tough flu season. By now, your school has probably had several teachers and students out because of the flu or other illnesses. If your family hasn’t been affected by the flu, you’ve probably stocked up on hand soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays in an effort to fight the germs. If you are anything like me, you’ve probably even thought about sending your child to school in plastic wrap.
Aside from taking the CDC advised precautions to prevent the flu, you can also help combat flu season by making sure your child’s school is prepared to combat the germs. While I’m sure the janitorial staff is doing all they can to keep things clean, we can also support the efforts to fight the flu and other viruses.
- Make sure your children’s classrooms have a supply of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizers.
- Provide small travel packs of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer for each child in the classroom. For younger children, I recommend a sanitizing hand wipe as opposed to liquid sanitizer.
- Encourage your children to wipe of their desks and chairs at the start of each day or between classes. Encourage teachers to allow time for this.
- General cleaning isn’t enough during this season. Volunteer to provide extra cleaning at your child’s school. If your school only provides cleaning services at the end of the day, it may be helpful to have the bathrooms cleaned midday as well. I also recommend additional cleaning of regularly touched surfaces such as, doorknobs, light switches, hand rails, and drinking fountains.
- Remind your children daily to keep their hands to themselves. Although we want our children to be friendly, during this season it may be a good idea to discourage hand holding and playful touch.
- Ensure children have their own supplies. During this season, I don’t recommend children share things like pencils and pens.
For more resources regarding school-wide cold & flu prevention visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/index.htm