D51 & MCPH want you to stay healthy, avoid germs & sickness

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- February is prime cold and flu season. Just this week nearly ten District 51 schools had more than 10 percent of their students absent due to illness.

Local agencies are teaming up to spread the word about how to prevent the spread of germs.

When it comes to taking your kid out of school, it’s a tough decision for working parents.

"She came home with a fever and a belly ache but there's a lot of sickness going around the school, they had actually sent a letter home yesterday kind of warning parents,” said Tim Dobransky, parent of two.

If you decided to keep your child home, that means missing a day of work, however if you send them you risk infecting others.

"In the past it's been difficult because either one of us would have to take the day off and get home and of course babysitters don't want the kids when they're sick,” said Dobransky.

Just this week 9 schools had dozens of students and staff call in sick.
"If we have ten percent of students out absent any particular day we will have the custodians come in and do some extra cleaning after hours when everybody is gone and that means wiping down pretty much every surface kids can touch so that's light switches, door knobs, doors in general, countertops, desks,” said Emily Shockley with School District 51.

So far there have been almost 40 flu hospitalizations in Mesa County. That's down compared to last year. However, other things are flying around too.

"Colds are certainly going around it is February that is pretty much a guarantee, we have heard about RSV which is another respiratory illness going around which is not a surprise it happens this time of year, as well as of course strep throat…and then of course these gastrointestinal illnesses like norovirus is also a common culprit this time of year as well,” said Andy Tyler, Regional Epidemiologist with Mesa County Public Health.

The two local agencies designed a sickness chart for parents. It describes symptoms and explains when kids should stay home and rest.

For example if your kid has an earache, staying home is not necessary, but diarrhea, sever cough or wheezing and a fever above 101 degrees is.

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