Valley Nurses Prepare Against H1N1 Flu

August 25, 2009 8:15:54 PM PDT
Government health officials warned Tuesday the H1N1 flu could infect nearly half the country this year. Locally, school nurses said they are prepared to monitor illnesses that comes their way. Action News reporter John-Thomas Kobos shows us the simple step these nurses are taking to fight off this flu. School nurses across town and school districts are communicating openly with each other about what illnesses they're seeing. If there is concern the nurses notify the Department of Public Health.

School's back in session for thousands of kids in the Central Valley. Besides walking in with the newest back-packs and fashion styles, these students could also be carrying the H1N1 flu virus.

"I do know doctors are seeing a lot more kids. We've just heard that this week," said Diane Torna, director of nurses for Fresno Unified.

She said several children have showed up with flu like symptoms: high fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing.

Torna: "Our message is to stay home."

Nurses at other school districts offer the same advice.

Central Unified has seen a 2% increase in sick kids over this same time last year. However, enrollment is up this year.

At Clovis Unified 20 students were absent when classes started Monday. School officials said that is typical on the first day.

"What we see different in this flu is that it's affecting a younger population," said David Luchini with the Department of Public Health.

Luchini said since May 79 cases of H1N1 have been reported in Fresno County in teens under 19 years old.

22 of them were hospitalized. Luchini warned its important school nurses keep in touch to prevent the spread of this flu. "As a parent, as a parent of children of course I'm always concerned. It's a new virus and we don't know how it's going to impact our children and we see children sicker than usual from the flu," he said.

Parents said they are glad nurses are in front of this illness.

Betsy: "I've never seen that before and it's a really good system how they do it."

Crystal Ortiz: "As long as the school's keeping an eye on it and you keep your kids vaccinated."

If possible, you should contact your family doctor first before considering taking your child to the emergency room. Shots are available now for the normal seasonal flu however the H1N1 shots will not be offered until October.

Fresno County Dept. of Public Health
Flu Hotline: 888-993-3003
Fcdph.org

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