Letter to parents regarding Enterovirus and Cold/Flu season

Sept. 24, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Many of you have heard on the news about Enterovirus –D68, a virus that can cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, cough, fever or difficulty breathing. There have been no confirmed cases of Enterovirus-D68 in the New Haven Public Schools. However, it is the time of year when colds and flus begin to go around, so we wanted to send a reminder about tips for staying healthy.
Viruses can spread from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches surfaces contaminated by secretions like saliva, sputum and nasal mucus. Let us try to prevent the Enterovirus and other viruses, such as cold and flu, that cause illness in our children by following these simple steps:
1.      Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. This time equates to singing the Happy Birthday song twice.
2.      Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
3.      Avoid sharing cups or eating utensils, kissing or hugging with people who are sick.
4.      Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or into the inside of your elbow.
5.      Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
6.      For school children, if they are ill keep them at home until they are without symptoms for 24 hours.
If there is a history of asthma the following steps are important to follow:
1.      Follow your child's asthma action plan to maintain control of the asthma and use the medications as prescribed.
2.      Have all asthma medications available at home and in school as ordered in your child's asthma action plan.
3.      Call your primary care provider for worsening asthma symptoms. Some children have required hospitalization for more severe symptoms and difficulty breathing.
For all children, take advantage of self protection and get the flu vaccine. Encourage children to get plenty of rest, eat well and drink fluids like water.
Let us make the 2014-2015 school year a healthy one!