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Bret Hanna
Bret Hanna
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CDC Issues Swine Flu Rules for Schools

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A new school year is just around the corner for an estimated 55 million students and the Centers for Disease Control wants students, parents, teachers and school administrators to be ready for another round of swine flu outbreaks this fall. The catch phrase for the CDC’s strategy to keep the swine flu in check is good hygiene.

Good hygiene means everyone in the nation’s schools must wash their hands well and often. And when it comes to coughing and sneezing, into the elbow or shirt sleeve. Schools are also encouraged to create isolation areas on site so those that feel like they are getting sick can be given protective masks and remove themselves from the general school population until they can go home. If they get sick at home or after they end up at home, those who are sick are to remain there for at least 24 hours after their fever breaks.

The CDC is also recommending vaccinations, but that presumes vaccinations are available. Swine flu shots are being developed but it does not appear that they will be available until sometime in October. When shots are available, two doses administered three weeks apart will be needed to create an effective barrier against the H1N1 virus.

Finally, closing schools is to be viewed as an option of last resort. That said, the CDC noted that if a school has a significant number of "at-risk" students, those who are pregnant or who have medical conditions such as diabetes or cerebral palsy, they should close if officials see a notable uptick in swine flu cases. For a complete run down on the CDC guidelines visit www.flu.gov.