Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 20, 2013

Keep sick kids home

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Throughout the flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “FluView” reports weekly findings of influenza indicators across the U.S.

The week ending Dec. 7, the CDC found flu activity remained low nationally. According to the CDC:

• Visits to doctors for flu-like illness increased, and is now slightly above the national baseline.

• Four states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas) experienced high flu-like activity — an increase from two states in the previous week. Five states (Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah) experienced low flu-like activity. Forty-one states, including Indiana, experienced minimal activity.

• The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was below the epidemic threshold.

• No flu-associated pediatric deaths were reported.

Because flu activity in Indiana is sporadic right now, this is the perfect time to get vaccinated, the CDC says. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop an immune response.

Everyone 6 months and older should get a yearly flu vaccine. School-age children are at a high risk for contracting the flu. Ample supplies for influenza vaccine are available.

But remember, if a family member falls ill with flu-like symptoms, keep him or her at home for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone.

No athletic event is too important. No job is so imperative.

As a parent, you have a responsibility to this community to isolate a sick child from others.

Ensure your family washes their hands often with soap and water. And implore them to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

Flu season is no fun. But if we all use common sense, we’ll get through it with the least amount of pain possible.