Influenza, an infection of the respiratory system (including the nose, throat and lungs) is caused by the influenza virus. It is easily spread in schools during the fall and winter. Hand washing and staying at home when you are sick are important ways to stop the spread. Getting you and your child immunized with the flu shot every year is your best chance against infection.
Chicken pox may have severe consequences for children and adults with lowered immunity, for example people receiving cancer treatment. Anyone with lowered immunity in school classrooms should be quickly advised, in consultation with a school health nurse, when a case of chicken pox occurs in the school.
Stomach flu, or gastroenteritis, can spread very quickly in schools, resulting in high levels of absenteeism. The virus can live for a long time on surfaces so effective cleaning and disinfecting is important. As with most contagious illnesses, hand washing is also a very important preventive measure. People can still spread a gastrointestinal virus for several days after they recover. In an outbreak, Public Health will often recommend ill children and teachers stay home for two days after their symptoms stop.
How do I protect myself against communicable diseases?
Most of the time, you can’t tell if a person is infected with HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or any other disease. The best thing to do is to treat all blood and body fluids of every person as potentially infectious. These body fluids include blood, semen, vaginal secretions, breast milk and any fluid containing blood.
Immunizations can also protect you from many communicable diseases. Overall, hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs from one person to another. Learn more about hand washing and other ways to prevent illness, including how to clean up bodily fluids and properly use antibiotics.