RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As the flu continues to spread in Central Virginia, the Chesterfield County school system is urging parents to keep children with flu symptom at home and to go to the doctor.
"Please keep your student at home until cleared by your health care provider and until your child is fever-free for 24 hours without medications that reduce temperature," Chesterfield Public Schools said in an email on Sunday.
If students experience any of these symptoms, Chesterfield school officials say to keep them at home:
- Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting and diarrhea
In addition to washing hands, experts are urging people to keep their winter gear cleaned to help prevent the spread of flu.
Health experts suggest washing gloves, scarfs and winter coats regularly through the winter months instead of waiting until the end of the season.
Patient First is among several medical centers seeing an influx of patients with the flu.
"The flu virus itself is a much stronger virus this year. More people are feeling much worse," explained Dr. Elizabeth Jenkins. "There's more complications with this particular flu strain."
Dr. Jenkins says prevention can start in homes and schools. Healthy eating and getting enough sleep can keep you well enough to fight the germs.
The biggest concern is preschool age children and the elderly catching the flu, but there are ways to keep yourself and your loved ones protected.
"The biggest prevention is actually at school, which is having the kids wash their hands frequently," said Dr. Jenkins. "Try to get the kids to stop touching their face and nose. That's how the infection spreads through their body."
At Buford Road Pharmacy, the staff continues to fill Tamiflu prescriptions. One of those was for Jorge Mendez's five-year-old.
"She has the flu, so we have to be careful," explained Mendez. "You cannot play with these things, you've got to be serious."
Mendez said his little one got sick overnight. It started with the vomiting and a fever. By Monday morning, she had a cough and stuffy nose, so he knew he had no other choice but to take her to the doctor and keep her home.
"Call out of work, whatever you've got to do. Kids are first, job is secondary," said Mendez.
Richmond City and Hanover County Public Schools both sent notifications to families hoping to keep them informed and reminded to keep their children home if necessary.
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