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County Fill-in-Blank News Release
School Children at High Risk for H1N1

Date: _____
Contact: _____, Administrative Director
_____ County Health Department
Phone: _____

As children begin their annual back-to-school trek, the _____ County Health Department recommends that parents gear up for what could be a challenging flu season.

“Expect your children to get the flu earlier than normal this year and plan accordingly,” said _____ County Health Department Administrative Director _____.

“With the new H1N1 flu circulating in the state, children are going to be exposed to the virus before the vaccine is available, and many may get sick earlier than they might normally.”

_____ said parents and caregivers who work outside the home should plan now for how they will take care of sick children at home. “Schools will be screening and sending home children with fever and respiratory symptoms,” s/he said. “You should keep your child home if he or she has a fever over 100 F. It’s best to have a thermometer on hand to check, but if you do not, and your child is achy and tired and feels warm to the touch, your child probably has a fever. Your child should also stay home with a sore throat, cough, body aches, vomiting and diarrhea.”

Children with flu-like symptoms should be kept out of school until fever is gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-lowering medications.

School-age children have been among the most affected group by the H1N1 flu, and they will be a priority group for vaccination when the new flu vaccine is available later this fall. For now, children 6 months and older should get a regular flu shot to protect them from seasonal flu.

In addition to vaccination, help protect your children from infection by teaching them to:

• Wash hands with soap often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
• Sneeze or cough “into your sleeve” or use a tissue to cover the nose and mouth and throw it away after using. Wash hands!
• Try not to touch the eyes, nose and mouth to prevent spreading germs.

For more information, call the _____ County Health Department at (phone number) or visit this Web site: http://h1n1.health.ok.gov.

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