West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling and State Superintendent of Schools Michael J. Martirano today reminded parents and students about the importance of preparing now for the flu season by using standard flu precaution measures including getting the flu shot.
The joint press event was held at Piedmont Elementary School in Charleston, West Virginia, where Max DeBord, a student at the school, received his flu vaccine during the event.
“With the flu season approaching, it’s important for West Virginia’s health and education leaders to come together to increase awareness about the importance of getting a flu shot and taking basic preventive measures to help stop the spread of the flu,” Bowling said.
To date, flu activity for West Virginia has been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “sporadic,” but generally influenza-like illness increases peak in January or February of each year.
“It’s very important for us to remain vigilant in our efforts,” said Martirano. “We want to ensure parents, students and staff know how to take the necessary preventive measures to ensure our children have the best opportunities to stay healthy throughout the school year.”
Bureau for Public Health Commissioner and State Health Officer Dr. Rahul Gupta said there are several steps you can take to fight the flu:
- Get a flu shot, which not only protects you from most flu strains that may be circulating, but helps reduce the chances of developing flu related complications.
- Wash your hands frequently, cover your cough and sneeze into your sleeve if you do not have a tissue.
- Wipe down frequently touched surfaces with a disinfectant.
- STAY HOME when you are sick.
Flu symptoms include quick onset of fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and dry cough. Persons who may be suffering from influenza-like symptoms should see a medical provider right away.
“We know that one of the hardest hit populations every year during flu season is school-aged children which could lead to increased absences, lower test scores and missed nutritional opportunities for students,” said Dr. Gupta. “Today would be a great day for your child to get a flu shot.”
For more information about the flu, please visit www.dide.wv.gov and click on “Influenza.”