herald

Thursday 21 September 2017

Teachers on flu alert as schools reopen

Teachers are being advised to keep an eye out for students with symptoms of flu with schools reopening on Monday.

Guidelines issued by the HSE and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre point out that schools play a critical role in protecting the health of their students, staff and the community from diseases such as flu.

It said that the annual flu season is now being experienced.

In the advice on how teachers and other school staff can prevent the spread of flu, the experts recommend that posters and signage regarding flu, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette should be displayed appropriately in schools.

Students should be reminded to practice good hand hygiene and ensure that they have the time and facilities to wash their hands as often as necessary.

The guidelines advise that children should not be permitted to share wind instruments. If items such as pens, crayons or objects are shared, they should be cleaned before passing them between students.

"Keep an eye out for students with symptoms of flu, and arrange for them to go home as soon as possible. If practicable, they should be sent to another room while awaiting collection," according to the expert advice.

Flu usually presents with sudden onset of fever -- a temperature over 38 degrees celcius -- and cough or sore throat. Other symptoms can include a runny or stuffy nose, limb or joint pains, headache, vomiting or diarrhoea.

People who may be at higher risk for complications of flu include those with chronic respiratory, heart, kidney, liver or neurological disease, children under the age of two and people aged 65 years and older.

Meanwhile, seven beds remain closed at Dublin's Beaumont Hospital as part of the quarantine arrangements put in place to cope with an outbreak of the winter vomiting virus.

A spokesperson for the hospital said: "Since the start of the outbreak some four weeks ago a total of 234 patients have been affected, as well as a number of staff."

fdillon@herald.ie

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