Flu outbreaks force at least 2 ArkLaTex schools to close

Published: Feb. 9, 2017 at 12:33 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2017 at 7:17 PM CST
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(Source: Summerfield High School Administration Facebook page)
(Source: Summerfield High School Administration Facebook page)

VIVIAN, LA (KSLA) - The flu has forced another ArkLaTex school to suspend classes.

There will be no school Friday and Monday at Summerfield High in Summerfield, according to Claiborne School District.

This is in addition to North Caddo Elementary/Middle in Vivian remaining closed Friday.

Caddo School District announced Wednesday that North Caddo Elementary/Middle would be closed today and Friday.

A flu outbreak resulted in excessive absences Wednesday at North Caddo Elementary/Middle.

An estimated 15 percent of the school's 830 students plus numerous teachers and staffers were out with the flu, School District spokeswoman Mary Wood said.

Those facts plus the School District's inability to get a sufficient number of substitutes to cover for the ill teachers led to the district's decision to cancel classes, she said.

The campus was closed today and will be again Friday so workers can sanitize the facilities and to give everyone time to heal, Wood said.

Classes at North Caddo Elementary/Middle are expected to resume Monday.

Even then, Caddo school officials are asking parents to be cautious and not send their children back to class if they are running a fever or have other flu symptoms.

The School District has no plans to cancel classes at North Caddo High. "The high school is not facing the same concerns we are having at North Caddo Elementary/Middle," Wood said Wednesday.

Flu refers to illnesses caused by a number of different influenza viruses.

Seasonal outbreaks generally begin in the late fall and last through early spring, usually October through April.

Flu outbreaks are widespread in most of the United States at this time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The best thing you can do to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated, said Dr. Nadia Gomes, of Christus Primary Care Associates. This year's vaccination offers really good coverage against the different influenza strains people might encounter, she said.

Nonetheless, Gomes said, she's seen a decrease in the number of people getting vaccinated for the flu.

"It is not too late to get the flu shot," she said. "Like we were saying, it peaks anywhere between December and March. So we are still in February. There's still and month and a half to go in this peak flu season."

Flu symptoms people need to watch for include fever, muscle aches, congestion, nausea and even vomiting.

Anyone with those symptoms should go to a doctor as soon as possible because treatment is most effective in the first 48 hours, Gomes said.

And  stay home at least 24 hours after being fever-free without the use of Tylenol or ibuprofen, she added.

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