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A Health Message for NPS Families

Minimizing the Spread of Enterovirus D68 and Other Viruses
Posted on 09/21/2014
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Haga clic aquí:   ENTEROVIRUS D68 MENSAJE SEPT 2014

In recent days, Norwalk parents and guardians may have seen news stories about the spread of a virus which can cause severe respiratory illness in some children.
 Known as Enterovirus D68, this virus has been spreading rapidly across the country, and is now believed to have arrived in Connecticut and New York.

In most children, the virus will cause only mild symptoms which may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches.  In some children, the virus may cause difficulty breathing and wheezing. Many of the children who became very ill had a history of asthma or wheezing in the past. The virus can be spread by an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum.  It may also be spread when someone touches a contaminated surface.

In addition, as the fall and winter months approach, so does the influenza (flu) season in our schools and community.  As it is not possible to predict what the rate of infection will be in the weeks ahead, we each need to take precautions to minimize the spread of Enterovirus D68 and flu within our homes, schools and community.  These same precautions also mitigate the spread of other communicable diseases.

We need your cooperation to help minimize the prevalence and spread of flu and flu-like illness in our community.  We ask that you please:

  • Become knowledgeable regarding Enterovirus D68 and influenza. For current information, see the following websites:

  • Consult with your health care providers regarding flu vaccine for you and your children. The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older.

  • Make plans for child care in the event that your child becomes ill.

  • Teach your children preventive strategies, such as:  avoiding close contact with others; covering their mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing/coughing (or coughing/ sneezing into an elbow rather than hand); disposing of used tissues into a wastebasket; frequently washing their hands (or using an alcohol-based sanitizer if hand washing is not feasible); and not touching their eyes, nose or mouth. 

  • Keep your children home when they have early symptoms of illness (e.g., fever, headache, runny nose, extreme fatigue, and cough, sore throat, muscle aches).  Individuals may be contagious for at least one day before the onset of symptoms and up to seven days after getting sick. 

  • Keep your children home until they are fully recovered from the illness (e.g., have had  no fever, vomiting or diarrhea for at least 24 hours, are no longer significantly fatigued or in need of extra sleep, and have significantly reduced respiratory symptoms).  A minimum of a full 24 hours of normal temperature – without Tylenol or other fever-reducing medication – is essential before a child returns to school.  Recovery from the acute phase of a flu or flu-like illness may require seven days of rest and care at home. 

  • Consult with your child’s physician should you have questions regarding the prevention and treatment of flu and flu-like illness in your family.  See the websites referenced above for flu symptoms that should be reported immediately to your child’s physician.

  • Never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptomsand particularly fever – without first speaking to your doctor because of the risk of Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease.

If families follow the above guidelines and collaborate in teaching children effective prevention strategies, we may succeed in decreasing the spread of flu and other illnesses within our schools, and thereby protect some of our more vulnerable community members.

Thank you in advance for your collaboration in prevention efforts this year.

Sincerely,    

Dr. Manuel Rivera, Superintendent

Grace Vetter, Coordinator of Student Health Services


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