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Tips to stay healthy during cold and flu season

Minnesota is currently experiencing the highest number of school outbreaks of flu in the last five years. Schools in Minnesota reported a total of 167 flu outbreaks during the week of December 21, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. SPPS reported three flu outbreaks during that same time.

A flu outbreak is defined as when the total number of student absences due to influenza-like illness reaches 5 percent or more in a building on any given day, or if there are three or more students absent from a classroom with flu-like illness  on any given day. An influenza-like illness is defined as having a fever of at least 100°F with a cough or sore throat.

Here are several tips to help you stay healthy during cold and flu season:

  • Get the flu shot. The flu vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent getting influenza. It is not too late to get vaccinated.
  • Use good hand hygiene. Wash your hands using warm water and soap several times a day or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when water and soap is not available. 
  • Cover your cough. Cough into your upper sleeve and not into your hands.
  • Stay home if you are sick and keep your children home from school if they are sick.

For more information, including guidelines for keeping your kids home if they are ill, visit the Student Health and Wellness website.

Link: For more information about the flu, visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s flu website.