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00000177-b32b-d5f4-a5ff-bbfb6e660000Here is the information you need to know about COVID-19 in Northwest Florida. We will keep this post updated with the latest information from local, and statewide agencies. For inforamtion from Centers for Disease Control and prevention: cdc.gov/coronavirusFor updates on Florida cases of coronavirus, visit the FDOH dashboard.The COVID-19 call center is available at 24/7 at 1-866-779-6121

Is It The Flu? Please, Stay Home.

Photo via Flickr//Matteo Bagnoli

The Florida Department of Health has established that flu season has a head start this year. As a result, school districts are reminding parents to keep infected kids at homed.

Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says we can expect to see an ebb and flow of influenza over the next few months. To that end, letters are being sent home after the state Health Department announced the early season, especially when it comes to children. The key, says Thomas, is fever.

“That’s always kind of the red flag,” said Thomas. “If you’ve got a fever that means you’re very likely to be contagious. Those are the students that we really would encourage to stay at home.”

Parents are also reminded that school district policy requires students to stay home from school until they are fever free for at least 24 hours, without taking fever reducing medication. And Thomas says students will get help to make up lost schoolwork.

The letter from the Escambia School District also encourages both parents and students to get vaccinated for influenza. Other than the vaccine, which causes antibodies to develop about two weeks after being given, other protections include basic hygiene such as frequent hand-washing. Also, try to avoid close contact with those who are sick; get plenty of sleep, stay physically active, and eat healthy foods.

But mostly, Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says when it comes to battling the flu, there’s no place like home.

“You have a fever, flu-like symptoms, the best thing for you to do is stay at home,” said Thomas. “If you push the envelope and try to go on to school or work, all you’re going to do is possibly infect other individuals that would be in your classroom or workplace.”

And a new study downstate by the Public Library of Science shows that when children get their vaccination, it also protects others. The study showed when half of the children aged 5-17 in Alachua County received seasonal flu vaccinations through a school-based program, the flu rate in the entire age group fell by 79%.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.