Keeping Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

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Viruses spread easily throughout schools. There are some simple tips that can be followed to keep people well.


Anyone who has a child in school or has contact with students knows there is a cold and flu going around. Although Glendale Unified School District health services coordinator Michelle Green said there doesn’t seem to be an abnormally high number of absences due to cold and flu, the LA County Public Health Dept. has warned of a dual flu season.

“I think we are in the second part of that season,” she said.

Green added that the particular cold that is going around has a “lingering cough.” There are precautions to take advised for parents, community members and students to reduce their risk of being infected by the cold or flu.

“Get the flu shot,” Green said.

This is also the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC].

Green added that some people do not get the flu shot because they think they will then get the flu, but that is not true.

“They are not going to get the flu if [they] get the flu shot,” she said.

There are some who swear they do get the flu after they receive the shot; Green said that may mean they were already sick.

“It has been a big challenge because people still believe they are going to get sick if they get the shot,” she said, adding, “it is not too late to get the shot now.”

In addition to the flu shot there are some practical things that can be done to help reduce the chance of getting sick, like washing hands. According to the CDC this is one of the best ways for people to protect themselves and their families from getting sick. They advise washing hands before, during and after preparing food, before eating, before and after caring for someone who is sick, before and after treating a cut or wound, after using the toilet, after changing diapers or cleaning a child, after blowing their nose, after touching pets and after touching garbage.

How people wash their hands is important, too. They should not just do the quick run under the water but use soap and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, then dry their hands with a clean towel.

And do not use sanitizers in place of washing hands because, although it does reduce the number of germs on the hands, it does not get rid of all types of germs.

In addition to hand washing, it is also important for students not to share food or drinks and, of course, to cover their mouths when coughing. These all may seem like obvious precautions but they are important to remember and to remind students.

Those who are parents or caregivers of a school aged child, it is important to know when to keep a child at home and when to let them return to school. One clear sign to keep a child home is when he/she is running a fever. Do not let them return to school until the fever has been gone for 24 hours.

“The public health department [states] that the [child] should have no fever for 24 hours without medicine reducing the fever,” Green said.

In addition to the concerns about the cold and flu season, some people are now concerned about the coronavirus that has been affecting individuals in China.

“While there has been much discussion and concern about the coronavirus, there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Glendale, La Crescenta-Montrose, La Cañada, or any of our surrounding communities,” stated GUSD.

“Since December 2019, Chinese authorities identified thousands of human infections, resulting in dozens of deaths, associated with this novel (new) coronavirus in an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. In addition, novel coronavirus infections have been confirmed in numerous travelers who traveled to or came from Wuhan City, including five travelers in the United States located in Arizona, Washington State, Chicago, Orange County and Los Angeles County,” according to the County of Los Angeles Public Health.

However, the public health department states there is not an immediate threat to the general public and no special precautions are required. The risk from the novel coronavirus 2019 spreading to LA County residents is deemed to be at low at this time.