As reported by the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity in Pennsylvania is currently high. The flu virus is very contagious and is spread from person to person. People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person also might get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose.
People with flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children and some people with weakened immune systems may pass the virus for longer than 7 days.
Signs and symptoms of the flu may include any of the following:
- Fever (Temperature greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue
- Diarrhea and or vomiting
Those who show flu-like symptoms should stay home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
The CDC recommends these preventive measures:
- Encourage students and staff to stay home when sick.
- Encourage respiratory etiquette among students and staff through education and the provision of supplies.
- Encourage hand hygiene among students and staff through education, scheduled time for hand-washing, and the provision of supplies.
- Encourage students and staff to keep their hands away from their nose, mouth, and eyes.
- Routine cleaning of surfaces should continue as usual. Flu viruses are relatively fragile, so standard practices can help remove and kill them. Studies have shown that the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for only 2 to 8 hours after being deposited on a surface. Therefore, special sanitizing processes beyond routine cleaning, including closing schools to clean every surface in the building, are not necessary or recommended to slow the spread of flu, even during a flu outbreak.