Dr. William Capehart, superintendent of Mason County Schools, announced Wednesday that the school would be closed today through Monday, Oct. 12. The school district, in conjunction with the Mason County Health Department, monitors the reasons why students miss school due to illness.
According to Assistant Superintendent Stephen Kingery, once the percentage of the total student body reporting out due to influenza like illnesses reaches 25 percent, officials from the school district and the health department must confer and determine if the school needs to be closed for a period of five days. Both school and health department officials will continue to monitor all schools and take appropriate action when warranted.
Diana Riddle, administrator and nursing director of the Mason County Health Department, praised the district’s efforts in cooperating with the health department to combat influenza.
“The schools have been great. When the school nurses send kids home sick they let us know that day,” she said.
Riddle added that schools have put prevention plans into practice, such as encouraging students to wash their hands, keeping facilities clean and educating both students and faculty on influenza. To help stop the spread of influenza, she encouraged residents to stay home when sick.
“Stay home. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid travel,” she said.
Flu symptoms include a sore throat, cough and a fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, those affected could experience frequent sneezing, fatigue and chills along with body aches.
Individuals who become ill should remain at home until the fever, if present, has subsided for 24 hours with medicine or as instructed by their physician. Riddle also said that the majority of children and adults who are already in good health and have either seasonal influenza or H1N1 typically do not need to see a health care provider.
To determine if the flu is seasonal or H1N1, a culture test must be performed. Culture test results may take several days to arrive, but in both H1N1 and seasonal influenza the same medication is used to treat patients.
“Most healthy children and adults will recover without a visit to a doctor. The treatments are the same if you are sick with the seasonal flu and H1N1, and not everyone requires treatment,” she said.
According to Riddle, those with already underlying medical conditions should visit their healthcare providers if they experience flu symptoms. However, the best way to combat influenza is to be aggressive in washing hands and covering their mouths when coughing.
Mason County Schools along with the health department appreciate the assistance of parents and guardians in keeping schools informed about student illnesses.
For more information on influenza, call the health department at (304) 675-3050.