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Tips from WDC school nurses: Keeping students healthy during flu season

Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary nurse Teresa Manselle (pictured) said following preventative tips, such as covering your month when you sneeze and cough, can help stop the spread of the flu and other infections this season.

With flu season upon us, Wadena-Deer Creek school nurses are promoting preventative measures to keep students healthy.

According to WDC Elementary school nurse Teresa Manselle, viruses spread easily and quickly among children in schools, and families with school-age children have more infections than others.

"By keeping our children flu-free, we benefit the community as a whole," Manselle said. "Families can help prevent the spread of flu, as well as help their child get better if he/she does get sick by following a few simple steps."

Those steps include:

• If possible, you and your child should get a flu shot

• Remind your child to cover his/her nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing and dispose of the tissue immediately

• Have your child wash his/her hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds

• Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and shared items at least once a day

• Make sure bathrooms are stocked with soap, hand towels and tissues

• Teach your child not to touch his/her mouth, nose and eyes

• If your child is sick and has a fever, keep him/her at home to prevent the spread of illness to others

WDC High School nurse Jill Boline said if parents are concerned about their child's flu symptoms, she recommends that "it's important to call your doctor early."

What are the common symptoms of flu? Boline said watch for the following symptoms, which include high fever, severe headache, muscle and body aches, exhaustion and dry cough.

Also, children often exhibit other flu symptoms that are rare in adults, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Some children might benefit from an antiviral medication, which can be prescribed by a physician and can help lessen duration of the virus and reduce the risk of complications, such as pneumonia. To be effective, antiviral medication should be taken within 12-48 hours after flu symptoms begin.

If you have any questions or would like additional information about preventing and treating the flu, please contact either WDC school nurses: Jill Boline, high school nurse, 632-2347 or Teresa Manselle, elementary school nurse, 632-2165; or contact your local medical provider.