Schools get hygiene guidance as colds and flu cases surge

Sleaford area schools are being issued with advice on precautions for staff and parents to contend with a worrying upsurge in cases of colds, flu, Covid-19 and other respiratory illnesses.
It is not too late to get your Covid or flu jab if eligible.It is not too late to get your Covid or flu jab if eligible.
It is not too late to get your Covid or flu jab if eligible.

Schools such as Nocton, Dunston, Digby and Sleaford’s William Alvey have been asked to share a letter with parents from the county council’s health protection team in response to the rising number of respiratory illnesses circulating the county as pupils return after the festive break.

It comes with treatment guidance from NHS Lincolnshire as hospital flu cases have doubled in a week in the region along with near-record numbers of NHS 111 calls.

Staff in NHS 111 answered a near record number of calls nationally.

Dr Vijay Rawal, regional medical director for primary care at NHS England, said: “Winter illnesses are on the rise because we’re mixing more and being close to others aids the spread of flu, norovirus and Covid-19.”

School staff have been reminded to promote good hand hygiene, ensure PPE is available for cleaners and first aiders, increase cleaning in busy areas and frequently touched items and surfaces, increase ventilation where possible and make sure staff and children stay away from school if they have fever symptoms.

Natalie Liddle, head of health protection at the county council, says in her letter to parents it is not uncommon for viruses to spread at this time of year, but there are simple steps people can take to reduce the transmission.

She encouraged parents to get children vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu and recommended asking your pharmacy for advice on relief of cold and flu symptoms.

Encourage your child to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time and try to stay at home and avoid contact if you or your child are feeling unwell.

She recommends rest and sleep, keeping warm, paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower temperature and treat aches and pains, while drinking plenty of water. Ms Liddle added: “Most respiratory illnesses are mild and clear up within two to three weeks without the need for treatment. If in doubt, please refer to NHS 111 online.”

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