School Shopping: Put Hand Sanitizer on the List.

Extra caution is being taken to be sure schools are particularly clean and prepared when the students return to school this fall. With concerns about a more potent round of swine flu arriving, officials are concerned that outbreaks can happen and schools are potential hotbeds. The extremely contagious strain of flu is expected to spread more rapidly in a highly concentrated area, as it did at summer camps throughout the summer. A worst-case scenario developed by the Centers for Disease Control anticipates that 40 percent of the country may be infected this fall. Health officials warned school administrators across the nation last week that student absentee rates from swine flu might reach 30 percent. Parents should send their kids off for the first day of school with hand sanitizer and instructions to wash their hands often with soap and water and avoid touching their faces, which spreads germs. Health guidelines suggest that students and staff with flu like symptoms stay home for at least 24hours after they no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines. High-risk people, including those who are pregnant or have asthma or diabetes, should contact doctors immediately if they become ill. The first step in detecting the flu is to evaluate the person for common symptoms, which include a fever of 100 degrees or more, cough or sore throat, body aches, headache, runny nose, chills, fatigue, diarrhea or vomiting. Health departments are preparing the H1N1 seasonal flu vaccines for early September. Public health department clinics, community clinics, doctor’s offices and some pharmacy and retail chains will carry the single-dose vaccine, either a shot or nasal spray. Since the first outbreak last March, 353 people have died from swine flu nationwide

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