In the United States, flu season is said to take place between the months of October and May but often peaks around February each year. Lawrence County is witnessing evidence to such claims with the announcement of two school closings this week. 

With this in mind, all residents who are contagiously ill—whether it be flu, strep or the stomach virus—anyone who is sick is highly encouraged to stay home. 

If your child has been diagnosed with the flu, Lawrence County Superintendent Jon Bret Smith urges parents to keep their child at home for at least five days, even if their doctor permits them to return to school within two or three days. If you or your child is running a fever, stay inside, away from others until you are fever free for at least 24 hours without the aid of medications like Tylenol or Ibuprofen. 

If you must visit the pharmacy or grocery store and you are sick, please keep your mouth and nose covered and refrain from excessive touching. When you cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or the cup of your elbow.

While closing schools or canceling social activities may help to prevent some further spreading, it is ultimately up to the sick to stay home or stay covered when they are out in public. 

For those who are healthy, practice washing your hands frequently. It doesn’t hurt for you to refrain from excessive touching as well. Keep sanitation wipes handy to wipe clean your cell phone case, cart handles at Wal-Mart, or even your steering wheel before and after each use. 

Though these precautions may seem a little over the top, keep in mind that prevention starts with you. Head School Nurse Sherry McWhorter has called the flu a “community illness,” and it will take a health-conscious community to stall and prevent its further spread. Do your part by practicing healthy hygiene and covering your mouth when you cough. If you are sick, for your sake and everyone else’s, please stay home. 

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