Area schools fight off flu epidemic

Published: Jan. 30, 2018 at 9:50 AM MST
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Right now, the flu epidemic is hitting the nation hard, especially in schools.

At least 37 children have died nationwide and the illness has forced closures at schools in at least 12 states.

Colorado is not a state that is suffering from this and that has school leaders re-evaluating why.

The most recent numbers released by the Colorado Health Department show there have been more than 2,000 hospitalizations, 111 outbreaks and one death of a person under the age of 18, but school districts in the area said they are not feeling the impact like in other states. School leaders in the Pikes Peak region said they've dealt with outbreaks like this before, like the H1N1 epidemic a few years ago.

Pikes Peak area schools are doing everything from cleaning desktops and doorknobs nightly, to encouraging students to use hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes.

A number of parents have reported their child either has the flu or flu-like symptoms, but the numbers don't compare to past years.

"We have had parents call in with confirmed cases of the flu, not more than normal," said Bobbi Lahey, head nurse at School District 11.

Pharmacists said the best way to keep the flu from spreading is simple: wash your hands.

"Hot water and soap, hand sanitizer if that's not available. Make sure if you do come in contact with anyone with the flu to again wash your hands," said Jennifer O'brien, a Walmart pharmacist.

Experts said one of the biggest germ-sharing things is something we all love to use and share -- your cell phone -- which makes washing your hands even more important knowing that little piece of information.

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