Hand Washing: Research has proven that washing your hands requently continues to be the most effective method of reducing the spread of the swine flu virus. Wash your hands with soap and water or with an anti-bacterial hand sanitizer often during the day.
Use Respiratory Etiquette: Please be considerate of others by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. A shirt sleeve or elbow may be used if no tissue is available.
Stay Home When Sick: If you have symptoms of the flu, such as fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, body aches or vomiting, you should stay home. If these symptoms begin at school, go immediately to the nurse for an evaluation. You may return to school once you are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.
Early Treatment: Early treatment with antiviral medications maybe indicated to decrease the length and severity of the virus. See your doctor if you begin to experience flu-like symptoms.
Limit your contact with others experiencing flu symptoms: The CDC recommends staying at least six feet away from anyone who is sick.
Avoid Touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with your hands.
H1N1 mass vaccination clinics will be held at the Colbert County Health Department on the following dates:
Thursday, November 12th – 8 AM – 12 Noon
Friday, November 13th – 8 AM - 4 PM
Wednesday, November 18th – 8 AM – 6 PM
The vaccinations will be available for all students and “target groups” that were identified in the email that I sent out yesterday. However, Dr. Landers stated that no one will questioned or turned away, even if they are not considered as part of a “target” group.
The vaccinations are free of charge to everyone.
There are two types of H1N1 vaccine, a nasal mist and an injectible form.
The nasal mist is indicated for those between the ages of 2-49. It is encouraged because it is less invasive, provides a faster immunity, and may possibly provide a longer immunity. However, it is contraindicated for anyone who is pregnant or has an underlying health condition, such as, asthma, diabetes, etc.
We were asked to encourage our parents to take their child to the health department or their local physician to receive their vaccination.
After November 30th, plans will be discussed to begin school vaccination clinics for those unable to make it to the health department or the doctor’s office. Only students in grades K-3 will be vaccinated during the first round of these clinics. We are hoping to schedule the school clinics before Christmas.
Plans are not finalized for the date or time of the clinics, but we are hoping to schedule the time from 2 PM – 6 PM sometime during the first two weeks of December and require that a parent or guardian be present with their child for the vaccination.
Only the nasal mist will be given in the school clinics. Therefore, students with underlying health conditions will need to visit the health department or doctor to receive the vaccination.
Parents will be asked to complete a four page consent form. If an underlying health condition is discovered while reviewing the consent form, the student will not be eligible to receive the vaccine at school.
Two doses of the vaccine are recommended. However, schools will only be giving one dose. Parents will be instructed to visit the health department or their pediatrician for the 2nd dose. Dr. Landers stated that children who receive only one dose will have immunity. The second dose will just increase that immunity.
For your information, this release was distributed at a news conference this morning.
ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH The RSA Tower, 201 Monroe Street, P.O. Box 303017, Montgomery, AL 36130-3017 (334) 206-5300 • FAX (334) 206-5520 Web Site: http://www.adph.org
School-based H1N1 influenza clinics to begin for K-3 students
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jim McVay, DrPA
The Alabama Department of Public Health will begin offering nasal mist flu vaccine to kindergarten through third grade students in Alabama schools at voluntary H1N1 influenza vaccination clinics. A few clinics will begin the week of Nov. 23, but the majority will be held beginning the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 5.
“Vaccination is the best way to protect your children from this potentially serious disease,” said State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson. “We’re very concerned about the impact of widespread H1N1 influenza, including the 32 documented deaths in Alabama. Research indicates that it is far safer to receive the vaccination than to become ill with the disease. We encourage everyone to be vaccinated as soon as vaccine becomes available.”
The nasal mist vaccine (live, attenuated intranasal vaccine) is sprayed into each nostril and is not an injection. The 2009 H1N1 influenza nasal spray vaccine does not contain thimerosol or other preservatives. This nasal mist vaccination is the first of two doses needed for children aged 9 years and under. The second dose should be given about four weeks later to protect children from the novel H1N1 influenza virus.
Beginning this week, Alabama parents will be sent packets containing a vaccine information statement informing them about the vaccine and the disease, and will be given a consent form to sign if they want their child vaccinated. Only students in these grades with signed parental consent forms will be given the H1N1 nasal mist vaccine. No fees will be charged.
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Joseph Morton said, “We strongly encourage parents to be proactive and treat the spread of this disease very seriously. This is undoubtedly an instance where prevention is the key and our children are depending on us to keep them healthy.
“The State Department of Education and the Alabama Department of Public Health have worked tirelessly, hand-in-hand, to keep the public informed since the onset of this disease. Now it is important that parents provide consent so their children can be given the best care possible.”
Parents whose children have compromised immune systems or have long-term health problems are advised to take their children to their physician, another health care provider or county health department to obtain an injectable influenza vaccine. In addition, children who have close contact with a person with a severely weakened immunized system, such as a person requiring care in a protected environment, should not receive the vaccine in nasal mist form.
Children with the following conditions should not get the nasal mist vaccine:
Severe, life-threatening allergies to eggs or allergies to any other substance in the vaccine
Weakened immune system
Long-term health problems
Kidney or liver disease
Diabetes or other metabolic disease
Anemia and other blood disorders
Muscle or nerve disorders (such as cerebral palsy) that can lead to breathing or swallowing problems
Children on long-term aspirin treatment
Children who are moderately or severely ill should wait until recovering before getting the vaccine, but those with a mild cold or other minor illness may be vaccinated.
“If you would like your child to receive the nasal spray vaccine, please read the information in your registration packet, and sign and return the consent form to your child’s school by the deadline,” Dr. Morton advised. Both English and Spanish-language packets are available for parents.
The viruses in the nasal-spray vaccine are weakened and do not cause severe symptoms often associated with influenza illness. In children, side effects from the nasal mist vaccine can include runny nose, wheezing, headache, vomiting, muscle aches and fever.
At this time, the vaccine is available through health care providers and county health departments for pregnant women; children, adolescents and adults through 24 years of age; adults 25 through 64 years of age with medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes; close contacts of children younger than 6 months old; and health care and emergency medical services personnel.
Since July there have been 32 known influenza-associated deaths in Alabama. The counties of residence and numbers of influenza-associated deaths are as follows: Baldwin, 1; Bullock, 2; Calhoun, 1; Cherokee, 1; Colbert, 1; Dale, 1; Elmore, 1; Escambia, 1; Houston/Pike, 1; Jackson, 2; Jefferson, 4; Lee, 1; Macon, 1; Madison, 1; Mobile, 2; Montgomery, 3; Morgan, 1; Russell, 1; Shelby, 2; and Talladega, 3; and Walker, 1.
For more information about H1N1 influenza, visit www.adph.org or call Alabama’s toll-free flu hotline at 1-877-377-7285 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday except state holidays. Messages left after hours will be returned the following day.
Guidelines for Faculty and Staff
ENCOURAGE FREQUENT HAND WASING! We are placing orders today for additional hand sanitizers. We will get these to you as soon as we receive them. Until then, use the sanitizers that you already have or send students to the rest room to wash their hands.
DISINFECT YOUR CLASSROOMS: You should beging spraying your classroom withb disinfectant daily. We will be ordering a new type of disinfectant that we hope will be dilivered tomorrow. This disinfectant is similar to the DZ-7 that we have been using but it is pre-mixed with a dilution system, this elminating the possibility of over or under mixing of the chemical. Your custodian will deliver the new disinfectant to you as soon as we have it ready. You should spray desks, door knobs, and any other areas that students frequently touch. This spray should be sprayed when students will be out of the classroom for at least 15 minutes. It can be wiped or allowed to air dry.
FOGGING: Our custodians havev already begun their fogging routine. Your classrooms will be fogged once or twice weekly.
SEND SICK STUDENTS TO THE NURSE: Due to the highly contagious nature of this virus, send sick students to the office as soon as you notice any symptoms. They will be evaluated by the nurse and sent home if necessary.