December 10, 2019
Dear Parent or Guardian,
This letter is to inform you that an individual in our childcare school has influenza, otherwise known as “the flu.” Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus which affects the nose, throat, and lungs. It is transmitted person-to-person through contact with oral secretions or through the air by coughing or sneezing.
Influenza symptoms primarily include a sudden onset of fever of 100 to 103 F, cough, exhaustion, headaches, and muscle aches that are often severe. A person will be tired and/or weak through the duration of the illness for up to two weeks. Other symptoms may include sneezing, sore throat, and runny nose. Children may sometimes experience vomiting or diarrhea.
A person with influenza can be contagious from one day before symptoms appear until about a week after. People who are ill should stay at home until fever has been absent for 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medication, to avoid spreading the influenza virus. Other steps that can prevent the spread of the influenza virus include:
Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough
Using a tissue to wipe or blow your nose and throwing away used tissues
Washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water
Treatment for influenza includes bed rest, fluids, and control of fever. Do not give your child aspirin for reducing fever due to the possibility of Reye’s syndrome or other complications. Contact your healthcare provider for information about antiviral medications for the treatment of influenza. Antibiotics are not effective against influenza or other viruses.
Influenza vaccines are available each year, typically starting in October and through the influenza season, or as supplies last. Because the influenza virus changes each year, a dose of vaccine is needed annually. Everyone who is at least six months of age and older should get vaccinated every flu season. It’s especially important for some people to get vaccinated, including people who have medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease; pregnant women; people younger than five years (and especially those younger than two); those 65 and older; and people at high risk of developing serious complications (like pneumonia), if they get the flu.
If you have further questions concerning influenza, consult your healthcare provider or contact the Spokane Regional Health District’s Disease Prevention and Response Division at (509) 324.1442.
Grace Johns, RN/ Laurie Davis, LPN
Seth Woodard Elementary/WVSD