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The flu is spreading fast across the region and some schools are shutting down because of it

The flu is spreading fast across the region and some schools have been closed because of it. While there are many bugs going around there is one that is standing out. Pediatrician Aaron Garner from Just 4 Kids Urgent Care says, “we’re seeing a lot of kids come in for influenzas.” The type of influenza that has been going around is known as influenza A. The most common subtype is H1N1. When the flu spreads, a lot of people tend to think this is done by airborne contagion. This is not true for Influenza A. Influenza A is spread by fluids. School District 93 is aware of this and are taking extra measures to ensure the health of their students is not at risk. Margaret Wimborne Director of Communications for School District 93 says, “We do what we can to minimize the risks of transmission. We use antiseptic wipes and those sorts of things to prevent the children from spreading germs.” The schools are also looking out to make sure students are not sharing water bottles or lunch to also help bacteria from spreading. These are standard sanitation measures that the schools to keep up with for health of their students. Parents are more concerned with the reason why schools are shutting down. It is mandatory by law that local schools must report to the East Idaho Public Health if they do decide to close a school. The EIPH also has the authority to shut down a school if there is a major outbreak of a virus but will typically hold back on making this decision unless the situation is severe. Mike Taylor the Surveillance Epidemiologist at EIPH say, “Most schools have their own policies on when they should shut down and that is usually based on their absentee rates.” After a school has a number of students who don’t show up for class, they will shut down the school so that those large number of students don’t fall behind on the curriculum. Taylor says January and February are where we see an outbreak of flu at it’s peek. A lot of people will tend to cough or sneeze into their hands, but the best way to prevent these germs from spreading is by releasing all nasal and mouth fluids into your arm. You can spread this flu 24 hours before you start showing symptoms if you are feeling sick the best tip is to just stay home. It is also not too late to get a vaccination. You can get that done at the health department or by your local health care provider.

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