• Winter is a prime time for colds and flu. You can prevent them and other illnesses by simple hand washing. Wash your hands with soap and water for about 20 seconds before you eat or touch your face. Hands carry a variety of germs, and they enter our bodies through touching our eyes, nose, or mouth. Wash your hands after using the bathroom or cough or sneeze into a tissue. If your can't wash your hands with soap and water, use a hand sanitizer to kill the germs.

    Stay home when you are sick. Going to school or work when you are sick spreads the germs to other healthy people. Students, even though you may have a test, presentation, or project due on a day you are not feeling well, stay home. You won't do your best during that activity and it is best to get well first. Stay home when you are sick.

    Use the Flu Screening Tool for Parents and Caregivers to help determine if your child is well enough for school.

    Protect yourself and your family from the flu:

    1. Get a flu shot. Flu shots provide immunity against the flu viruses. A flu shot can be given at any time before or during the flu season.
    2. Cover your mouth and nose. Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your upper arm if a tissue is not available. Throw away used tissues and wash your hands.
    3. Wash hands frequently. Use warm water and soap and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you cannot wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer.
    4. Don't touch your face. If you do need to touch your face, wash your hands first. Hands carry germs that may cause the flu so keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    5. Get 7 to 8 hours (more for younger children) of sleep each night to help your body replenish and fight any germs.
    6. Eat nutritious foods. They help boost immunity to keep you healthy.
    7. Get moving. Exercise 3 or 4 days a week for at least 30 minutes which can help boost your body's natural ability to fight off infection and the flu.
    8. Use the flu screening tool to help you determine if your child is well enough for school.