Influenza is currently very common in the community, here at Saints as well as other Schools, and below is some important information to recognise the signs and ensure your son is treated accordingly.

In Australia, seasonal influenza of varying severity occurs every year, usually between May and September.

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs and it is highly infectious.

How influenza is spread

Influenza virus is spread when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes small droplets containing infectious agents into the air. The droplets in the air may be breathed in by those nearby. Infection may also be spread by contact with hands, tissues and other articles soiled by infected nose and throat discharges.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • rapid onset of fever
  • muscle aches
  • running nose
  • sore throat
  • a cough

Most people recover within a week, although the cough and fatigue may last longer. Influenza is much more serious than the common cold. It can lead to pneumonia (lung infection or inflammation) and other complications. 

Treatment

Most people recover with rest, drinking plenty of fluids and use of paracetamol for the relief of pain and fever. Aspirin should not be given to children under 12 years of age unless specifically recommended by a doctor.

When to seek medical advice

Seek medical advice if:

  • you are concerned about the symptoms
  • symptoms are getting worse
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing
  • inability to keep liquids down because of vomiting
  • symptoms of dehydration (such as being dizzy when standing or passing much less urine than normal).

Prevention

  • Exclude people with flu from childcare, preschool, school and work until there has been no fever for 24 hours (without using a fever reducing medicine such as paracetamol).
  • Wash hands as soon as possible after sneezing or coughing and after contact with nose and throat discharges or articles soiled by these. Use soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub.
  • Wipe down all frequently touched surfaces regularly with a cleaning cloth dampened with detergent, or a large alcohol wipe.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue or your arm, not with your hand. Drop used tissues immediately into a rubbish bin, then wash your hands.
  • Flu vaccines reduce the risk of getting severe influenza. Influenza vaccination is required every year as the influenza virus is constantly changing and each year the influenza vaccines are altered to provide protection against the strains that are circulating.

David Scott
Head of Senior School