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Ripon schools nurse offers swine flu tips
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RIPON — Breakfast with the Ripon Unified Superintendent of Schools Louise Nan Wednesday morning focused on concern for a possible flu outbreak in the fall, discussing preventative measures.

Nan was at the Barnwood Restaurant along with a half dozen community members showing their interest in the educational process and its needs.  

School district nurse Judy Anderson voiced her anxiety at the possible spread of the Novel H1N1 swine flu virus, saying the schools don’t want to panic the parents into keeping their children home.  She said the California Department of Public Health expects one in three will contract the virus, adding that most will shake it off in a matter of days.

It is difficult to monitor the progression since the only testing that is being done on its victims is on those who make it into intensive care or who actually die in the process.  She added that the strain is becoming more prolific since it was discovered in April of this year.

School children are going to be sent home when it is evident they have a cough plus a fever, she said.  The fever is the alarming element.   Those students will be put into a separate office at the school until they can be picked up by a parent and taken home.

Those affected with the virus are to stay home for 24 hours after their symptoms disappear.  If a majority of the students were to come down with the flu, the school would be closed and the staff released.  It was noted that there is money set aside to replace the lost state ADA money in case a school is forced to close and send its staff members home as well.
Anderson said she hasn’t seen any serious flu bug in the Ripon schools so far this year other than kids going home with a headache – but no fevers.

She noted that the flu shots – two are recommended – or the flu mist is expected to provide a 25 to 40 percent prevention rate.   The vaccine hopefully is going to be available by the end of October.

Students, meanwhile, are being shown how to cough into the inside of their elbows for the best containment of viruses.  They are also being educated in the need to wash their hands in warm soapy water.  

Superintendent Nan said she is hoping that more education-minded residents of the community will join her at the weekly breakfast meetings in the future.