School’s first swine flu case prompts warnings for students to stay hygienic

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(To read about the school’s policy on closures due to the swine flu, click here)

Due to the increasing cases of swine flu in Indiana and the introduction of it to Carmel High School, Assistant Principal Karen Campbell sent out an email to all the staff containing guidelines to follow in an effort to limit flu exposure.

Nurse Carol Gelatt said students can stay healthy by washing their hands, coughing and sneezing in tissues or sleeves, staying home from school if they have a temperature over 100 degrees, and staying away from ill students.

“Swine flu is the Influenza A virus,” Gelatt said. “Chances of coming in contact with it are high because virus particles are in the air.” Gelatt said that the point of all the hype about swine flu is to keep the community aware.

Students are prohibited from coming back to school after being ill unless their fever is less than 100 degrees for at least 24 hours. A student coming from the nurse must have a pass for re-entry into their classroom.

If they don’t, they must be sent immediately to the health center with their belongings for an evaluation. Students should see a doctor is they experience any of the following symptoms: fatigue, fever over 100 degrees, muscle ache, joint pain, loss of appetite, headache, cough, or stuffy nose.

Junior Jayne Stelzer’s mother was diagnosed with the swine flu virus in June, the beginning of summer.

“It was honestly pretty scary finding out my mom was so sick,” Jayne said. “She was one of very few cases in Hamilton County.”

Jayne’s mother was quarantined in her own home for 11 days with only her husband as company. Because he had already been exposed to the virus, he was allowed to stay in the home. For the first five days of being quarantined, she was required to wear a mask.

“The doctors think my mom contracted it when we were in Chicago at the beginning of summer,” Jayne said. “Apparently it was going around the city while we were there.”

Jayne and her father were both put on Tamiflu to prevent getting sick, while her mother was put on rimantadine, two different types of tamiflu, proventil, and tussicaps.

“I wasn’t home when they diagnosed her, and my parents decided it would be easiest for me to just start taking the meds and stay at a friend’s house,” Jayne said.

Katie Walstrom is a reporter for the HiLite. Contact her at kwalstrom@hilite.org.

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