GASTROINTESTINAL ILLNESSES AND REQUESTED PREVENTATIVE STEPS
As a result of multiple gastrointestinal illness (GI) outbreaks, presumably norovirus, at infant care centers and schools in six Sacramento County schools, Sacramento County Public Health (SCPH) has asked all district school officials in the county to work closely with them to investigate GI illnesses. Out of an abundance of caution, however, EGUSD does ask that parents monitor their student for any of the flu-like symptoms listed below. The SCPH also recommends that students with symptoms go to their primary physician to be tested for norovirus.
Flu or gastrointestinal types of illnesses are extremely contagious. Influenza and cold viruses are spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing. Norovirus is spread by touching surfaces or objects and/or by eating food or drinking liquids contaminated with the virus.
Common symptoms of influenza flu include:
- Fever, headache, muscle and body aches, chills, sore throat, exhaustion and dry cough.
- Children may also have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Norovirus, the stomach bug, causes:
- Acute gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines) and infected persons can feel extremely ill with diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain/cramping.
- They also may experience headache and fever.
Steps to help keep your child healthy
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent influenza infection is to get a flu vaccine. There is no vaccine available for norovirus. Talk to your child about practicing good health habits:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Cover mouth and nose into the inside of the elbow or with a tissue when sneezing or coughing and dispose of the tissue immediately into the trash.
- Avoid touching the “T zone”- eyes, nose and mouth and sharing drinks, water bottles, eating utensils and cell phones.
Help prevent spreading illness to others
- If your child has had symptoms of a GI Illness, we ask that you keep your sick child home from school until he/she has been fever/vomiting/diarrhea-free for 48 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication). It is important for your ill child to get rest and drink plenty of fluids.
- At home, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, toys and commonly shared items. Wash contaminated clothing or linen immediately with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dry.
For any medically-related questions, EGUSD encourages you to contact your primary care physician or Sacramento County Public Health at (916) 875-5881.