Parent/guardian information: Signs and symptoms of the flu
February 13, 2018
The Upper Grand District School Board and Wellington Dufferin Public Health understand that the community is very concerned with the recent series of tragic events. We continue to work collaboratively and closely to ensure that all aspects of children’s health and well-being are addressed. School has always been and continues to be a safe place for your children. Influenza (the flu) is circulating in Ontario. Because the flu virus is widespread in our community, it is possible to get influenza from any setting (e.g., the mall, the grocery store, sports teams, clubs, etc.). There is no increased risk of getting the flu in a school compared to any other location.
What is influenza (the flu)?
Influenza is a respiratory infection that is caused by a virus, and can cause serious illness especially in young children, seniors, pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions.
The flu is spread by the talking, coughing, and sneezing of an infected person.
Many people can get the flu, and the majority of people recover from the virus. It takes 1 to 4 days for flu symptoms to appear after being exposed to the virus, and most people recover in 7 to 10 days.
What are the signs and symptoms of the flu?
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- High fever
- Muscle aches
What can parents do to prevent the flu?
The best way to help prevent the flu is to get your child vaccinated. You can receive a flu vaccine from Public Health, your family doctor or your local pharmacy. Ask for the vaccine that includes all four strains of the flu virus.
In addition to getting vaccinated, you should:
- Wash your hands with soap and water throughout the day. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds after using the washroom, coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, wiping a child’s nose with a tissue and before eating. A person can spread the flu to others even before symptoms appear.
- Carry an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or shirt sleeve instead of your hands.
- Keep hands away from your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth when possible.
- Stay home from work,school, or social activities when sick to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- If your child is showing symptoms of the flu contact your family doctor.
- Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces, such as door and toilet handles, cell phones, television remotes, bathroom and kitchen surfaces. Flu germs can survive on a surface for an extended period of time.
If you have questions about the flu or the flu vaccine, call Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 or speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
- There is no greater risk of contracting the flu in a school setting as compared to the mall, grocery store, dance class, etc.
- Every year, many people get the flu and get better
- The best way to prevent the spread of germs include regular handwashing, coughing/sneezing into shirt sleeves and getting your flu shot
If your child is not feeling well
- They need to stay home and rest
- Monitor your child, keep a close watch on their health,
- Seek medical attention if:
- your child experiences trouble breathing, drinking fluids, or is difficult to arouse,
- your child has a medical condition and shows signs of the flu,
- you child is under 5 and has a fever,
- you are concerned for any other reason-you know your child best.
If your child is worried
- Address their worries simply, directly, and factually
- Avoid overexposure to media, including social media and parent conversations
- Reassure them that school is a safe place to be
- Remind them about how they can keep themselves safe from the flu such as handwashing, coughing/sneezing into shirt sleeves, and not sharing food or water bottles
Public Health is available to respond to your questions and concerns at 1-800-265-7293