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A Red Cross Back-to-School Lesson: Teaching Your Children How to Stay Healthy
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August 13, 2009

As a new school year gets underway, health officials are bracing for another wave of the H1N1 flu virus to hit the United States in the months ahead. And one of the first lessons that parents can teach their children this school year is healthy living steps.

The American Red Cross encourages parents to take a series of flu-prevention steps now to help keep their children healthy and to prepare for the possibility of a flu outbreak in schools. These include:

  • Teach kids proper and consistent hand washing techniques.  
  • Tell them to avoid sharing objects such as utensils, cups, and bottles.
  • Show them how to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze and wash their hands afterwards. If they don’t have a tissue, tell them to cough or sneeze into their elbow or upper arm, not their hands.
  • Teach them to keep hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth to keep germs from entering the body.School kids

A recent poll conducted by the Red Cross showed more than a third of parents (39%) had received no flu information from their child’s school or daycare.  Mom and Dad should talk with the school about what the plans are for a potential flu outbreak.
The Red Cross also encourages parents to prepare for the potential spread of the H1N1 virus by talking with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with flu-like symptoms stay home – except to seek medical care or other necessities – for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone.  The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.

We have more information available on the H1N1 pandemic and what you can do to stay healthy and keep your family healthy.  Currently, the Red Cross is monitoring the developing situation and is in close contact with federal and state officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security.  At this time the best action the public can take is to prepare and prevent further spread of the virus.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

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