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    Pulaski Co. schools fend off flu

    8:23 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
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    Tips to prevent the flu from Kidshealth.org:

    - Get the flu vaccine.

    - Wash your hands frequently, especially before eating and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

    - Keep your sneezes and coughs to yourself (use a tissue or your elbow instead of your hand).

    - Keep your hands out of your eyes, mouth, and nose.

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  • MAUMELLE, Ark. (KTHV) - While the flu outbreak hits most of America, schools have become more susceptible to the spreading virus.

    The tune of The Letters of the Alphabet, which is typically a great phonics tool, now helps students keep track of time while they wash their hands at Pine Forest Elementary.

    "Water on, or put your hand in front of it because some of them use a sensor," said School Nurse, Valarie Beck, as she went from class to class teaching kindergarteners how to keep the flu virus from spreading. "We urge them to wash their hands more frequently and cover for coughs and sneezes."

    Pulaski County Schools partnered with the Department of Health to supply in-school vaccinations. According to the health department 176,000 students took part statewide. Nurse Beck hopes the vaccinations will take care of the virus strain sweeping the nation.

    "It's always a gamble. They have to pick and choose what to put in the shot or the nasal mist by what they predict will be the virus that comes," said Beck.

    Beck said she heard this year's virus could be a different strain, making prevention measures even more important.

    Before sending a student with symptoms to school, be sure to check their temperature. Nurse Beck said it's one of the best measures to see if the child actually has the flu.

    "If they have 101 or above they're not allowed to come to school. They should keep them at home, watch them, or take them to the doctor," said Beck.

    So far the message seems to be breaking through.

    "Wash your hands. Don't sneeze on somebody else," said Kindergartener Emma Pruss.

    Beck said teachers are also reminded to clean their rooms well to limit the spread of germs. It takes between 10 to 21 days for the vaccine to be effective, so take those preventative measures if you or your child recently got a flu shot.

    According to the department of health, this early flu season looks to be one of the worst in the last decade. So far, the flu has claimed 9 lives in Arkansas. Ed Barham with the department of health said around half of Arkansans do not get the flu vaccination.

    Twitter: @dustinbwilson1

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