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What’s the Latest with the Flu? A Message for Caregivers & Teachers

Flu is Still Circulating

Seasonal influenza (flu) is still active and causing disease in the United States. The flu virus can easily spread from one person to the next, causing serious illnesses that may result in hospitalization or death.

There is Still Time to Get the Flu Vaccine Now!

Influenza has been known to circulate into May and June, so it is still important to get the flu vaccine now. This critically important approach puts the health and safety of everyone in the child care setting first. Influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, including child care staff. Caregivers who are pregnant should know that flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women. Flu shots may be given during any trimester to protect pregnant women and their unborn babies, and will even protect the baby in the first few months of life.

Preparing for Next Year’s Flu Season

It’s never too early to prepare for next year’s flu season. Below are some steps you can take now:

  1. Update family contact information and child records so parents can be reached quickly if they need to pick up their sick child.
  2. Examine and revise the program’s written plan for seasonal flu.
  3. Schedule influenza prevention education for staff. Review policies on hand washing; cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting surfaces and toys; and excluding children and caregivers who are sick. Stay tuned for the release of AAP online training for child care providers on influenza prevention and control in July 2014.
  4. Display educational materials to encourage hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette.
  5. Help families and communities understand the important roles they can play in reducing the spread of flu. Plan ahead to distribute a customized letter and fact sheet mid-summer to parents about influenza prevention and control.
  6. Encourage all staff, children, and parents to plan to get the flu vaccine in August 2014 or as soon as it is available. Everyone needs a flu vaccine each year, even when the virus strains in the vaccine do not change from the previous year, because immunity wears off over time. Encourage parents to talk with their child’s pediatrician about a plan for children with underlying health conditions to receive the seasonal influenza vaccine as soon as it is available and to treat them early if they develop influenza-like illness.

Additional Resources for Caregivers & Teachers:

 

Published
4/7/2014 1:00 PM