Local Schools Take Action to Fight the Flu - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Local Schools Take Action to Fight the Flu

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The flu season is in full swing and health experts say the worst is yet to come.

41 states are reporting widespread cases of the virus and at least 18 children have died from it. Boston has declared a public health emergency. About a dozen Chicago hospitals have had to turn patients away. In Allentown, Pennsylvania, a hospital set up a special tent to keep flu patients from spreading the illness to others.

The Michigan Department of Community Health confirmed the fourth pediatric death on Wednesday caused by the flu, a 15-year-old from the central region of the state.

Here in Mid-Michigan, officials at Sparrow Hare urging anyone with symptoms to visit their primary care doctor or an urgent care facility. They say that many patients are going to the emergency room, which is leading to extremely long wait times.

Trying to stay ahead, two schools in West Michigan canceled classes. While most schools here in Mid-Michigan haven't seen an outbreak quite that bad, they say they are trying to stay ahead of the problem.

"Before break, I had about seven out of 29 children gone and they were gone for an entire week," said Martha McFall, a first grade teacher at Lockwood Elementary in Eaton Rapids.

Out of more than 400 students school wide, they had about 80 kids out sick in one day. During the break, they disinfected the whole school, paying close attention to those classrooms hit hardest.

"You just kind of have to go with the flow and step it up when the germs are floating around and hope that it doesn't hit here again," said McFall.

McFall says she is constantly reminding the kids to wash their hands and has the tools to do so at easy access, including keeping the hand sanitizer ready. But she says it needs to start at home. If a child is sick enough, keep them home to help stop the spread of germs.

According to the CDC, someone should stay home until at least 24 hours after their fever is gone.

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