Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 5, 2012

Keep sick kids home


THE ISSUE: Work and school during flu season.

OUR VIEW: 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.

Flu season has kicked off with a vengeance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday.

Higher-than-normal influenza cases have been reported in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. And the primary strain is one that makes people sicker than other types, the CDC said.

The last time flu season started this early was in the winter of 2003-04, the CDC said. It was the worst in 35 years and killed 48,000.

“It looks like it’s shaping up to be a bad flu season, but only time will tell,” said CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

Because flu activity is low right now in Indiana, 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.

There was some good news in the CDC report Monday: More than a third of Americans have been vaccinated. And that vaccine matches up with the flu strains reported so far.

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