A later than normal flu season has closed at least one lake area school for  the rest of the week and prompted others to take extra precautions to stem an increase in the number of students missing class.


A later than normal flu season has closed at least one lake area school for  the rest of the week and prompted others to take extra precautions to stem an increase in the number of students missing class.

The flu seems to be spiking about three weeks later than normal this year. The number of flu-like illnesses generally goes up in January.

The Versailles School District called classes off on Wednesday as the number of students out with flu-like symptoms continued to rise. Classes are scheduled to resume on March 5.

School officials in Camdenton are taking preventative measures by cleaning surfaces, using infectious bombs to help control the spread of germs. The district utilized their automatic call system, sending messages to parents to be on the lookout for coughing, fever and other symptoms commonly associated with the flu.

Sue Blankenship, who heads up health services for the district, said the school has lowered the threshold for sending students with temperatures home to 99 degrees if there are other flu-like symptoms accompanying it. Parents/caregivers should keep students home for 24 hours after the fever has been gone without the aid of fever reducers.

Bee Dampier, a registered nurse with the Camden County Health Department, said people need to understand the illness is extremely contagious. It can be passed easily from one person to another.

As the seasonal flu begins to spread, Jim Howard, R.N., CIC, infection preventionist at Lake Regional Health System, encourages area residents to take basic precautions.  These include sanitizing your hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or with soap and water; maintaining good nutrition; getting adequate rest; and avoiding contact with sick people.

 “If you don’t feel well but aren’t seriously ill, it’s a good idea to stay home,” Howard says. “Get plenty of rest and fluids. If your condition worsens or you are seriously ill, contact your physician.”

Flu symptoms include fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, chills, fatigue, headache and body aches. Adults experiencing respiratory distress, sudden dizziness, severe or persistent vomiting or confusion should seek immediate medical attention.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency warning signs in children include fast breathing or trouble breathing; bluish skin color; not drinking enough fluids; not waking up or interacting; and flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

Lake Regional Health System and schools report the incidences of flu to the Camden County Health Department.