Texas Takes the Lead in Swine Flu Prevention
I just spent the last three weeks in Texas where I have several family members who work in the public schools. Texas is taking a lead in prevention and is doing a good job.
As parents began to panic about sending their kids to school, Governor Rick Perry stepped in and took action. The last week I was there, he held an emergency meeting with a majority of the state's school superintendents. That same day, the superintendents went back to their districts to decide whether or not to close their campuses to prevent the spread of the virus.
Most districts stayed open, but with pro-active measures. Janitorial staffs went to work double time, disinfecting washrooms and cafeterias twice as often as usual. They are also disinfecting classrooms on a daily basis rather than weekly.
Student competitions, which require schools to bus participants to other districts, have been canceled for the remainder of the school year. Field trips are also canceled. Kids may be missing out, but they are staying safe and helping prevent the spread of a dangerous disease.
Two reporters in the Scholastic Kids Press Corps talked to infectious disease experts in Texas last week to find out how we can all be involved in prevention. The three doctors each stressed the importance of containing the spread by staying home if you are sick and washing your hands frequently.
You should cough and sneeze into your arm or tissue. Many people are no longer shaking hands or giving hugs and kisses to greet friends and family. Don't touch your face with your hands and keep your hands clean!
You should also get a flu shot if you haven't already. Two are recommended. And when a swine flu vaccine is finally available, be sure to get yours as soon as possible!
You can keep track of what the government is doing, and get advice on prevention at the Health and Human Services Web site.
The World Health Organization has a great site with most frequently asked questions. You can keep track of the number of cases by state at the Center for Disease Control's site. It also has a great list of prevention tips. You can find more tips on the Scholastic Kids Press Corps page, too!
So what is your school doing to prevent the swine flu? Click on "Comment" below and let us know.
—Kids Press Corps Editor Suzanne Freeman