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Department of Health Releases Guidance on Novel H1N1 Influenza for Schools K-12
Date:8/17/2009

Webinars held with school districts statewide in preparation for the upcoming flu season

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Secretary of Health today released guidance on Novel H1N1, also known as swine flu, for elementary and secondary schools in an effort to keep kids and staff healthy and flu-free this school year.

"The most important message for parents is that sick children should not go to school. The same applies to teachers and staff. If you are sick, the best place to be is at home," said Secretary of Health Everette James.

"Pennsylvania schools should take steps to prepare for swine flu this fall and winter because this virus has had a significant impact on children between the ages of five and 19 years. The revised guidance provides recommendations to mitigate the impact of influenza in schools, as well as limit the spread once flu is identified among students or staff members," James added.

The department's guidance is compatible with recently released recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The guidance is meant to limit the spread of influenza while reducing disruption to schools.

Hand washing, cough etiquette and keeping the environment clean can also significantly help reduce the spread of disease.

The Department of Health is recommending that those who are sick with influenza-like illness should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever and are no longer taking medication to reduce the fever. In most cases of flu, this means three to five days after the onset of illness.

The Department of Health strongly encourages school districts to work closely with local or state health officials to determine the best course of action should an outbreak happen.

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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health; Pennsylvania Department of Education
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