Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Flu in School:
Tools You Can Use

The news is full of dire predictions about the current flu season. But with a little prevention education, you can help fend off its impact in your school.

In Maricopa County, Arizona, Dr. Bob England and his public health team are using video and other cool tools to help educators teach students about the flu and reinforce flu fighting tips. One example is this county-produced video about the proper way to sneeze. This Sneezing 101 video is must-see TV for your students.

"There are things we can all do to help fewer of us get sick," England told kids in his a K-8 flu message video. Among England's tips that you should share -- and frequently reinforce with the students in your school -- are:
  • Always cover your cough or sneeze, but don't use your hands. Use a tissue if you have one, or you can sneeze into your elbow so that you don't spray your germs around.
  • Wash your hands alot. Sing yourself the ABC song or the Happy Birthday song while you do it. That way, you'll wash your hands long enough to kill all those germs.
  • If you don't have soap and water and a sink nearby, then hand disinfectent works well too. Just put it on your hands and rub it around. Keep your hands away from your face -- especially your mouth, your nose, and your eyes where the germs can get in.
  • Stay home when you're sick. If you come to school, you'll only spread your germs around to your friends, and then a lot more people will get sick.

    Maricopa County has produced some more valuable resources:

    The Flu and Your Family (in English - in Spanish)
    Tuck this little flyer into the next packet you send home.

    The Flu: A Guide (in English - in Spanish)
    Use this handout if you want to provide your staff or your students' families with more information about the symptoms and care of the flu.

    Flu Public Service Announcement (in English - in Spanish)
    Share this video school-wide during your morning announcements or school news program.

    Handwashing Stickers
    Print out these stickers on a sheet of Avery labels and recognize students when you see them "stopping the spread" by washing their hands.


    Preparing for the Flu: A Communication Toolkit for Schools (Grades K-12)
    Basic information and communciation resources for school administrators. This includes Action Steps for Schools to Prevent the Spread of Flu.
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