Officials share tips on helping kids fight flu

JACKSON, Tenn. — According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 10 children have died from the flu this season in Tennessee, including one in West Tennessee.

Now school districts across the area are closing.

As flu season continues, there are some things you might want to pay attention to.

Enclosed spaces, shared surfaces and lots of kids.

“[Schools] are little germ factories. I’ve said it before, so it’s hard. They’re in such close contact. They don’t think about being ill or what to do to stay well, so it’s up to us to set good examples,” Jackson-Madison County Health Department epidemiologist Shanna Wilbanks said.

Health department officials are warning that this flu season is bad.

In addition to getting a flu shot, you can take other precautions to stay healthy.

“Make sure, not just in flu time but all the time, to keep our areas sanitized, keep things we use all the time clean,” Wilbanks said.

While it’s important to pay attention to the stuff your kids bring home, it is even more important to pay attention to classrooms because they can be full of germs.

“Any shared surface is going to be kind of a germ-zone. You know, like light switches that kids are in charge of when they leave a different classroom, their desk or pencil sharpener,” Wilbanks said.

And in addition to cleaning everything with an approved cleaner, pay attention to who is around you.

“Especially if you’ve been around somebody who is a confirmed case of the flu or influenza-like illness, please watch yourself. If any symptoms of the flu come up, that you are smart about talking to your medical provider and maybe they can get you some antivirals in,” Wilbanks said. “It lessens the course of the illness and helps prevent any type of more severe complications from the flu.”

Health department officials remind us that there is still time to get your flu shot.

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