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With the season changing and the weather cooling, it’s essential to continue monitoring your family’s health. Health experts have detected early increases in the seasonal flu.

What may start out as sniffles, could turn into a cold, flu, COVID-19, or other communicable illness requiring your child to stay home from school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that school-aged children are a group with high rates of flu illness.

In the event that your child becomes ill, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your school’s protocols to report absences. Reducing the number of unexcused absences and risk of truancy are critical to learning. Missing two days of school each month equates to 18 days missed per year, which can lead to learning loss. Establishing a plan with your child’s pediatrician, school nurse, and teacher early on can help keep your child on track with their learning.

Continue practicing proven health strategies to keep students, staff and the greater community healthy during and beyond the winter months. Here are some winter wellness tips for families:

  • Help limit exposure to germs by teaching and practicing effective hand washing and sanitizing.
  • To help reduce the spread of illness-causing germs, it may be helpful to teach children to cover their cough and sneeze in their elbows.
  • Get enough sleep each night. Younger children need 10-12 hours of sleep, while adolescents need 8-10.
  • Incorporate fruits and vegetables into meals.
  • Wearing masks indoors, staying up-to-date on vaccinations, and staying home when sick are effective measures that keep the community healthy.

The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu shot. Santa Clara County continues to provide flu and COVID-19 vaccinations to residents for no charge.

Incorporating healthy habits into your family’s routine can keep them healthy all year.