The month of January has brought multiple reports of colds and flus affecting adults and children alike throughout Hatteras Island, and parents are urged to use caution while the flu season is seemingly in full swing. Keith Parker, the Digital Communications and Middle School Director for Dare County Schools, reports that while there’s no concrete way to determine the exact number of children with a cold or flu, there does seem to be a current uptick in illnesses that naturally coincides with the winter season.
“I went to Hatteras Island and was talking to our principals, and it does seem like it’s that time of year,” said Parker. “It’s flu season, and we see [annually] that kids seem to get seasonally sick this time of year.
Parker notes that when it comes to guidance, the schools typically utilize the flu prevention guidelines of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, which is also a solid resource for parents and families. (Their database on influenza information can be found on their website.)
Per these guidelines, if a parent notices that their child has a fever of 100 degrees or more for a 24-hour period, and are experiencing flu like symptoms, that would be a solid reason to see a doctor. If their child has a high fever, has flu-like symptoms, or is on antibiotics, that would be a good reason to be absent from school.
“We ask parents to use their best judgement, and to get checked out by a doctor [as needed],” said Parker.
“If students come to school and aren’t feeling well and think they might have the flu, they are certainly more than welcome to ask their teacher if they can see the nurse, or even potentially call home if they feel they need to,” he added. “We are flexible with kids if they aren’t feeling well, and all of the schools have access to a school nurse… that’s a great benefit of our schools.”
The Fessenden Center, which hosts a myriad of recreational activities for school-aged children, has also asked parents to consider the Center as they do the local schools in regards to illness and fevers. “If your child hasn’t been fever free for 24 hours, or shows other illness symptoms, please do not send them to activities,” the Fessenden Center requested in an online statement.
In essence, parents and families should stay vigilant as the flu season continues, and err on the side of caution to keep the season as short as possible.
“We encourage parents to get checked out [by a doctor] this time of year,” said Parker, “and we will work with parents so they can use their best judgement.”