Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Standard Operation Procedures on Flu Pandemics; H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu)

Schools can be a disease spreading harbor because they house hundreds to thousands of people in a confined location.

Therefore, school programs can help protect the health of the school community.

a) Schools must:

1. Have and maintain a complete medical history on each student, with particular emphasis on any and all respiratory illnesses (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, immune deficiencies, and any other chronic disorders), since such diseases can make those students more susceptible to the H1N1 flu virus.

2. Closely monitor children & adolescents with chronic health problems as the virus is much more fatal for them than ordinary or normal people.

3. Implement a system to track and potentially follow up on students who are absent from school to determine if absences are illness-related. This system can provide crucial clue to school & health authorities that there may be a high rates of illness in the community.

4. If students are dismissed from school, schools must cancel all school – related gatherings and encourage parents & students to avoid gatherings outside of school, including at shopping complexes, movie theaters, public library and friends houses in large groups.

5. All individuals with flu like symptoms must seek professional help immediately.

6. If an individual shows symptoms of influenza (fever above 37.8ºC or 100ºF, accompanied by cough or sore throat), they must stay home for 7 days, or 24 hours after symptoms subside, if longer than seven days seek professional help.

7. Always promote good hand – washing and hygiene practices, including cough and sneezing etiquette and ensuring that tissues are disposed of after usage.

8. Regularly clean and disinfect any and all frequently touched surfaces in the school environment (such as door handles, desktop surfaces, etc), making sure to follow the manufacturer’s labels for use on all cleaning materials used. Such cleaning should occur several times a day (before lessons start, before/after any break, etc).

9. Encourage sick students and staff to stay home, and actively encourage high levels of hygiene in and out of school.

10. Have clear signs and posters put up in every class and notice boards on preventions and good hygiene practices to avoid spread of flu.

11. Always maintain adequate stock of personal hygiene products, including soap and warm water.

12. Schools must purchase sanitizing hand gel, which can be used if there is no visible dirt on hands.

13. Schools must consider the necessity of providing students adequate time to wash hands during the day, particularly before meal times.

14. School must hold at least one instructive session on how to actively guide children on safety & hygiene methods by way of practicing themselves. School leaders are trusted figures in a community and should continue to provide accurate, yet not inflammatory, information about the spread of this virus, effects in the school community, and as well as encourage students & staff to stay home if they are sick.

15. Students, parents and staff must be informed that by their very nature, viruses are indiscriminate and equal opportunity. No one has immunity to this particular strain of influenza, so everyone is equally at risk of getting sick. Isolating, blaming, discriminating against or otherwise singling out individuals or sub-groups of a school’s population is not helpful; using common sense to prevent flu and monitoring for any symptoms is. School leaders should be vigilant about preventing bullying and harassments in schools.

16. In all schools, with any population, school health officials should assess risk and take actions appropriately. Schools should continue to maintain clean environments and encourage common sense preventive measures; wash hands, cover mouths when coughing and avoid close contact.

17. Schools must work together with authorities to keep our children healthy and safe.

18. Schools must inform everyone in the school community the situation is constantly changing and must be closely monitored.

19. Schools must monitor closely the health of school populations and communicate with health authorities.

20. To increase the preparedness of the school community for this pandemic, education, preparation and training must be given to school health personnel.

21. School closings must be strongly considered if a confirmed or suspected case of H1N1 flu is found and may be considered in case of an outbreak in the community

1 comment:

  1. The first swine flu vaccinations have today started in the UK. Seriously ill hospital patients are among the first to receive the jab. 11 million vaccinations will be rolled out from Monday the 26th of October. Swine Flu in the UK