Oink-choo: The Swine Flu and You… for Teachers - History Research Journal

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Monday, April 20, 2020

Oink-choo: The Swine Flu and You… for Teachers

What is the real danger of swine flu?
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but EVERYONE is freaking out about the swine flu. It seems like a good time to share some basics about the illness and some ways you can deal with the swine flu (and the resulting panic) in your classroom.

The swine flu is a strain of influenza that has adapted from an illness that typically only affects pigs. A strand affecting humans started spreading in Mexico, where the swine flu has been most severe. A weaker strand is believed to be spreading through the US and internationally.

The disease spreads between people like your typical flu. Swine flu is not spread by any food products, including pork or other pig byproducts.

According to the World Health Organization, most of those infected with the swine flu virus have fully recovered without need of medical attention or antiviral drugs.

SymptomsAccording to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), the symptoms are similar to that of your average flu.
§ Fever
§ Chills
§ Sore throat
§ Muscle pain
§ Severe headache
§ Coughing
§ Weakness
§ General discomfort

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
· Fast breathing or trouble breathing
· Bluish skin color
· Not drinking enough fluids
· Not waking up or not interacting
· Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
· Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
· Fever with a rash
In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
· Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
· Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
· Sudden dizziness
· Confusion
· Severe or persistent vomiting
Prevention & Treatment: oseltamivir or zanamivir or other antiviral prescription drugs. See the CDC guide for full rundown

While it is important not to panic or let the swine flu scare disrupt your life, you should be informed and try to avoid getting the flu – swine or otherwise.

Classroom Tips
- Since swine flu spreads like any other strain of the flu, a good immune system could stop it before it starts. I’m a firm believer in vitamin C prevention – I’ve kicked four colds to the curb in the last year – and lots of sleep to ward off illness. Practice it yourself AND tell your students
- Stock up on standard germ prevention products
o Antibacterial hand sanitizer
o Lysol/Clorox wipes to kill germs
o Kleenex
o Soap for when constant hand-washing
- Germ Hot Spots
o Door knobs
o Anything for communal use
§ Computers
§ Hall passes
§ Shared desks
§ Calculators or any other shared learning aids
- Listen to NPR’s “Where Germs Lurk in Grade School” report
- A lot of “end of the year” activities, games and general excitement are on the agenda. You may want to postpone any that involve hand-holding or other physical contact, including
o Red rover
o Heads up, 7 up
o High fiving
o Accepting homework from students (Maybe I’m just allergic to grading…)

Dealing with Parents- Information is the key to preventing parental panic before it starts.
- Has your principal sent out a call/email or other form of memo to parents reassuring them that there no students are currently diagnosed? If not, you may want to do so yourself.
- What should you tell them?
o Some basic information on swine flu to combat unnecessary alarm.
o If any students have been diagnosed OR if NONE have.
o Strategies you’re taking in the classroom to prevent germs spreading (whether it’s effective or not, it should be reassuring).
o A notice for the less vigilant parents reminding them to keep students home if they’re exhibiting any symptoms.

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