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Hillsborough Schools: Cover up that sneeze



Sneeze TAMPA -- So far, there have been no reported cases of swine flu in the 190,000-student Hillsborough County Schools, or anywhere else in Florida.

But just to be safe, the district is sending out a letter this afternoon warning parents to be on the lookout for fevers or other flu-like symptoms, and to take normal precautions -- frequent handwashing, sneezing into elbow or sleeve rather than hands -- to prevent spreading germs.

"Parents are encouraged to seek medical attention for children who show symptoms, and to keep those children home while the symptoms persist," the district said in a statement.

The letter home reminds parents that there have only been 20 confirmed cases of swine flu across the nation.

"Swine Flu in people is characterized by fever, sore throat, cough, body aches, headaches, chills, and fatigue, similar to most viruses," the letter says. "Not all individuals will suffer from all of the symptoms. The illness may last up to seven days, but people are considered to be contagious as long as signs and symptoms persist. An individual who is experiencing these symptoms should be seen by a doctor, and should not go to work or school while the symptoms persist.

"All children and staff should practice good hygiene, such as sneezing or coughing into a tissue, elbow, or sleeve.  Tissues should be tossed in the waste basket. Thoroughly wash hands for at least 15 seconds and keep hands away from eyes, nose and mouth to help avoid getting sick."

For more information, parents are directed to call the Hillsborough County Health Department’s Epidemiology Program at (813) 307-8010 or visit the Centers for Disease Control website at

Tom Marshall, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:21am]


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