Fayette schools feel the flu bug

Tue, 08/25/2009 - 4:17pm
By: Ben Nelms

Increasing numbers of Fayette County children are coming down with flu-like symptoms and are being sent home from schools, education officials confirmed Tuesday.

Fayette County school nurses were examining 60-75 students per school per day Monday and Tuesday. Three schools are reporting an absentee rate of 10 percent, well above normal.

School system head nurse Debbie King said school clinics normally see a total of 25-30 students each day. Last week, the second full week of school, that number was 50-75 per day per school, King said, with five-to-10 being sent home with flu-like symptoms.

This week, on Monday and Tuesday, those numbers increased again, and school nurses were seeing 60-75 students and even more students are being sent home sick, King said.

Elaborating on the situation with the increase of flu-like symptoms, King said that as of Tuesday the school system had three schools with a 10 percent absentee rate. Those schools were Flat Rock Middle, Inman Elementary and Whitewater Middle.

“We’re sending a lot more kids home during the school day with flu-like symptoms. I think it’s in our community in general,” said King.

The number of students reporting to school clinics was double or triple the norm last week and has increased beyond those figures this week, King said.

King said the majority of cases are coming from schools in Peachtree City, though almost all schools in the system have had at least one case where a student had influenza or flu-like symptoms.

The parents of children in 17 schools have informed school nurses that their child has Type A influenza for a total of 44 cases reported by parents throughout the school system. Type A flu may or may not be the swine flu. The customary seasonal flu is Type B.

The exact number of those with flu is difficult to determine, King said, since parents do not always call back to let the school know if a trip to the doctor had occurred or what the diagnosis, if any, had been. The reality is that the school system has no way of knowing whether the child is sick with confirmed flu unless the parent relays that information to the school.

“The important thing is that sick children should be kept at home,” King said, noting the impact of increased transmissions and possible spread of illness that can occur when sick children are around others. “The biggest frustration is parents sending kids to school sick or sending them back to school after they’ve been sick but before they are well enough to return.”

School staff are reviewing preventative measures with students such as hand-washing and covering mouths when sneezing or coughing. And schools are using more disinfectants, said King. School clinics are also taking further precautions by having healthy students separated from sick students.

King said the school system is following CDC guidelines that advise keeping a child at home if the child’s temperature is at 100 degrees (normal being 98.6) and not allowing the child to return to school until he has been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

King said the school system website has current information and precautions associated with influenza and flu-like symptoms. The school system is also in ongoing contact with Georgia Division of Public Health on the issue of flu and flu-like symptoms. The school system website is www.fcboe.org.

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gordaway's picture
Submitted by gordaway on Wed, 08/26/2009 - 9:53pm.

Please be extremely cautious and circumspect concerning whether to allow you and/or your children to get the H1N1 vaccine. The company producing this vaccine has not completed trials on the vaccines efficacy or safety. Don't believe everything you hear.


"You can't fix stupid."

Submitted by Eliza on Thu, 08/27/2009 - 8:17am.

quoting - "The company producing this vaccine has not completed trials on the vaccines efficacy or safety."
True - that's why they are not available yet.

It's one thing for healthy parents of healthy children to decide to forego the H1N1 shots - the flu probably won't be a big deal if they do get it - but for those whose children have asthma or other pre-existing health problems, it's just not that simple. The big thing with this flu is not that it's more virulent than regular flu, but that it is believed to be FAR more contagious and therefore many more children are going to get it.

dawn69's picture
Submitted by dawn69 on Thu, 08/27/2009 - 11:29am.

Every year approximately 30,000 Americans die from the flu - usually the very young, the very old, or those with deficient immune systems.

The prediction with this flu season is triple that of the norm. Reports from the CDC are that there could be upward from 90,000 flu deaths in the upcoming season. Oddly, this time around the concern is more for the 20-45 year age group.

Let's hope that the hype doesn't become reality. If we are seeing such large numbers of children with the flu in August - maybe the predicted November wave won't be as virulent. Let's keep our fingers crossed and keep giving our kids an abundant source of vitamin C.

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 08/27/2009 - 12:25pm.

And a flu shot I hope?

Kids get it first at school.

Submitted by ptcmom678 on Thu, 08/27/2009 - 7:02am.

Sorry, but considering it is only the third week of school and already I've had a kid home sick, I plan to get the entire family set up with regular and H1N1 shots, massive amounts of vitamin C and hand sanitizer. The school bus this morning was half empty due to sick little ones, and this is too early in the season for the flu. Just plain worrisome.

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