Stay Healthy During Winter Break - Letter from Dr. Martirano

For the past few months, we have been implementing a comprehensive plan to reduce the impact of the upcoming flu season on our school community. In partnership with the St. Mary’s County Health Department, we have offered the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines to all of our students. School-based H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccination clinics for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade began in October and are currently ongoing.

The flu clinics have been completed for both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines at the secondary schools. All 18 elementary schools have received the initial doses of H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines as well. Vaccinations will continue at the elementary schools to provide the H1N1 and seasonal boosters.

Approximately 54 percent of elementary students received the seasonal flu vaccine and 48 percent received the H1N1 vaccine. The local health department is currently tabulating the participation rates for the secondary school students. Individuals who received the vaccines will have increased protection against the flu this winter and prevent further spread of illness to family members and the community.

While the H1N1 continues to be present in the community, many indicators suggest the extent of influenza activity is declining, but the flu season will continue for several more months during the winter. During the winter break, it is important to continue to take seriously the following recommendations from public health professionals:

  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Cover your cough
  • Avoid sharing utensils, drinks, or personal-care items
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Drink plenty of fluids, get extra rest, and avoid getting run down or over-tired
  • Remain home at the earliest sign of illness
  • Minimize contact in the community to the extent possible

The vaccines against H1N1 and seasonal influenza are the best way to protect yourself and your child from this potentially serious disease and to prevent the spread of illness in schools and the community. We greatly appreciate your support to ensure our students are able to come to school healthy and ready to learn.
For additional information or questions, please contact the St. Mary’s County Health Department at 301-475-4330; Ms. Patricia Wince, Supervisor of Health Services for St. Mary’s County Public Schools, at 301-475-5511, option 2; or your child’s school nurse.

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