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How the Kids Feeling? MN Flu Activity on the Rise!

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Friday, December 28, 2012   

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Sniffles, fevers and coughs are becoming more commonplace as cold and flu season takes hold across the state.

Karen Fogolin, associate director of the Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network, says colds and flu are highly contagious and easily spread where children congregate.

"Especially for young ones who are sharing close quarters, such as children do in child care. They're handling the same toys. They're putting those toys in their mouths, and then it gets passed to another child."

If children are ill, Fogolin says, it's important to keep them home, normally until they've been fever-free for at least 24 hours. Parents also should have a back-up plan for child care, such as family or friends, should their main provider become ill.

To help prevent spreading any illnesses, Fogolin says, keep a close eye on children because they're most contagious the first couple days they're sick - and even a bit before that.

"Sometimes we see behaviors change in children when they're not feeling well, and that could be a sign. If their nose isn't runny but there's something going on with their behavior, it might be a sign that they are not feeling well."

It's also important, says Fogolin, to make sure day-care providers are doing their parts.

"Making sure that the toys and any of the areas that the children are playing in are cleaned daily. We would recommend that the child-care provider as well as the children have annual influenza vaccinations."

Since the start of the flu season in Minnesota, more than 130 schools have reported outbreaks and about 300 people have been hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza.

More information is online at health.state.mn.us and at mnchildcare.org.


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