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Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Launches H1N1 Outreach Effort with Minneapolis and Saint Paul Public Schools
Date:9/22/2009

MINNEAPOLIS and ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to help students and teachers stay healthy during this influenza season, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota will distribute 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to more than 120 Minneapolis and St. Paul K-12 public schools starting Wednesday, September 23. Additionally, Children's will provide informational newsletters in both English and Spanish to schools, and to the general public through www.Childrensmn.org/flu. The newsletters will include influenza facts, advice about preventing the spread of H1N1, vaccination information and advice direction about what families should do if someone gets sick.

"We want to make sure families are getting good information to help them stay healthy," said Patricia Stinchfield, RN, director of pediatric infection disease and immunology infection control, Children's. "By working with the schools we hope families will understand that H1N1 is not a reason to panic. There are easy steps to take to reduce the risk of getting sick, and the vast majority of people who do get sick simply need rest and liquids."

All Minneapolis and Saint Paul public schools will receive bottles of hand sanitizer that teachers can keep on their desks for use. The bottles will not only help prevent the spread of the virus, but will raise awareness in class of the need to take precautions and do their part to stay healthy.

"MPS has been preparing for the onset of influenza season and have taken measures to ensure that students, staff and families are educated and know the best ways to prevent getting sick and manage flu symptoms," said Carmen Teskey, MPS Nursing Service Manager. "We are grateful that Children's Hospital is donating hand sanitizer to our schools, so that we may help prevent the spread of germs and keep our students and staff healthy in the classroom this year."

"We all understand that hand sanitizers aren't a substitute for proper hand washing, but we also know that its use can be an important extension of regular practices in staying healthy," said Ann Hoxie, assistant director of the Saint Paul Public Schools Office of Student Health and Wellness. "This effort also epitomizes the partnership between our schools and our community in keeping our students and staff healthy so we can best help our children reach their academic goals."

When to Seek Emergency Care

Children's recommends that individuals use the same judgment about seeking medical care that they would during a typical flu season. Do not seek medical care if you or your child is not sick or if symptoms are mild. If you or your child has a fever and respiratory symptoms, including cough, sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion, contact your doctor for guidance before coming to the hospital.

If symptoms progress with difficulty breathing, vomiting, or if you get better and the symptoms come back worse, then you should seek medical attention.

Preventing the Spread of H1N1 Flu

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Alcohol-based hand cleansers are also effective.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
  • Cover noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean shared spaces often, including phone receivers, keyboards, steering wheels and office equipment.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as eating utensils, toothbrushes and towels.
  • Get vaccinated.

Influenza Vaccinations

  • This season there will be one vaccine to protect against seasonal flu strains and another vaccine to protect against H1N1 virus.
  • The seasonal influenza vaccine is available now and experts recommend that people get the shot as soon as possible.
  • The H1N1 vaccine will be available in mid-October.

To access a copy of Children's influenza newsletter or for more information about prevention and care, visit: www.childrensmn.org/flu.

About Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Serving as Minnesota's children's hospital since 1924, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is the seventh-largest pediatric health care organization in the United States, with 332 staffed beds at its two hospitals in St. Paul and Minneapolis. An independent, not-for-profit health care system, Children's of Minnesota provides care through more than 14,000 inpatient visits and more than 200,000 emergency room and other outpatient visits every year. Children's is the only Minnesota hospital system to provide comprehensive care exclusively to children. For more information, visit www.childrensmn.org.


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SOURCE Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
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