By MARY MEEHAN
Changing weather is bringing a wave of seasonal illness that has impacted some Kentucky schools. Kentucky health officials are encouraging people to take precautions to avoid contagious diseases like the flu, stomach viruses, and strep throat.
Several school districts from around Kentucky have closed for a day or two because of high rates of illness among students and staff. Schools in Berea closed for two days last week.
Jill Keyes is Clinical Services Officer at the Lexington County Health Department. She said now is the time “to really take care of yourself, plenty of sleep, plenty of water, exercise. When you do start getting ill have a fever or you have symptoms stay home, not be in large crowds so you are not spreading the illness to other people.”
She said it’s also important that people don’t return back to work before they are fully recovered and to keep kids at home until they are no longer contagious.
“So if some if a child has a fever, then has a stomach bug, is throwing up. You really want to make sure that that virus is gone before you send them back to school. Typically the rule of thumb is that 24-hour fever free and no vomiting for about 24 hours before they return to school.”
Dr. Doug Thoroghman heads the state’s infectious disease section in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. He said it’s typical that the number of cases of retrovirus rises during this time of year.
Usually, he said, they are usually highly contagious but clear up on their own within a few days. Although Thoroughman said there is a consistent message that bares repeating: Handwashing with hot water and soap is an effective tool for the prevention of disease.
He also recommends that people get the flu vaccine as Kentucky is seeing more cases of the illness as the flu season has begun.