More than 100 students and at least five teachers sick with the flu prompted a Clearwater high school to close on Friday.
The Clearwater area, less than 50 miles from downtown Bradenton, is in a pocket of one of the worst flu outbreak areas in the state.
Calvary Christian High School, at 110 N. McMullen Booth Road, shut down due to a flu outbreak that has affected a large portion of the student body and some faculty members, reports ABC Action News.
Executive pastor David Rice says at least 100 kids and five teachers were out sick on Thursday, so the school decided to close Friday to thoroughly clean the facility.
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The school has hired a cleaning service to disinfect the classrooms and hardware and aims to reopen next week after students and teachers rest over the weekend.
Influenza A (H3), the dominant strain of flu affecting people this season, has run rampant in Florida and throughout the country during the past few weeks.
The strain is usually associated with more severe illness in children and elderly people. Complications of the flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worseing of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes, health officials say.
Though flu season is in full swing, it is not too late to get the flu shot. There are still several weeks to go.
“Get your flu shot now,” the Florida Department of Health posted. “Flu vaccines can vary in effectiveness from season to season but they continue to be the best way to prevent influenza infection and serious influenza complications.”
If you start showing signs of flu-like symptoms, health officials urge you to contact your doctor as soon as possible. The time from when a person is exposed to the flu and infected, to when symptoms usually begin is about 1 to 4 days, with an average of about 2 days.
Those signs and symptoms, which tend to start suddenly not gradually, according to the Manatee County Health Department:
- 1. Fever or feeling feverish/chills (It’s important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever).
- 2. Cough.
- 3. Sore throat.
- 4. Runny or stuffy nose.
- 5. Muscle or body aches.
- 6. Headaches.
- 7. Fatigue.
- 8. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in young children than in adults.
What else can you do? Here are some good health practices the CDC recommends:
- 1. Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others and stay home.
- 2. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- 3. Wash your hands.
- 4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- 5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is sick.
- 6. Get plenty of sleep.
- 7. Stay active.
- 8. Drink a lot of fluids.