Over 15% of South Middle School Students Absent with Illness; 13 Families Report Confirmed Influenza A Diagnoses

South Middle School Front Entrance
South Middle School (file photo).

South Middle School Administration sent out an email to families Tuesday February 26, 2019 that there were a higher number of student absences Monday and Tuesday this week, with about 10% of students home with illness. Additionally, South Middle School sent 15 students home Tuesday with flu-like symptoms.

On Wednesday the absences climbed to over 15% of students, according to South Middle School Administration.

Overall recorded absence reasons and symptoms have varied. However, as of Tuesday, February 26, 2019, South Middle School had 13 families reach out to inform school administrators of verified Influenza A diagnoses.

South Middle School Front Entrance
South Middle School (file photo).

South Middle School Administration reported they will continue to track reported cases and consult the Cook County Health Department. Health Department guidelines include good and frequent hand washing with soap and water and keeping children home when they are ill. To help control the spread of viruses at home, cleaning of high touch or contaminated surfaces with disinfectant cleaners is recommended.

South Middle School informed parents that the school is promoting healthy habits, encouraging students to wash hands and use the hand sanitizer available in most classrooms. Also, the custodial team is treating some areas of the building more frequently to help prevent the spread of germs. Finally, several teachers had students using their school supplies wipes to address personal items and surfaces around them in the classroom/lockers.

Flu, or influenza, is a contagious respiratory virus that affects the respiratory system and spreads easily from person-to-person through coughing and sneezing. Influenza can cause mild to severe illness, and even death in some cases. Symptoms include: Fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and fatigue.

The Cook County Health Department has alerted that during Week 7 of 2019 the risk of influenza in Suburban Cook County is “HIGH.”

Possibly there are multiple types of illnesses occurring simultaneously, as some South Middle School students have Influenza A symptoms and some have gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

See also …
Cook County Health Department Influenza Surveillance

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