Platte County Health Department (PCHD) recently received over 80 reports of influenza diagnosed in Platte County residents last week, over a third of which were among school-aged children. Due to high rates of influenza currently being reported throughout Platte County and the Kansas City region, we wanted to send out a friendly reminder to our daycares to make an extra effort to practice good hygiene measures throughout flu season:
· Promote regular handwashing among your staff and students, particularly after handling used tissues or using the restroom and before eating or preparing food. Handwashing is the best way to prevent the spread of communicable disease!
· Ask parents to keep their students home from school if they have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, until at least 24 hours after symptoms end.
· Perform routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched environmental surfaces and equipment as well as high-traffic areas:
o Frequently touched surfaces include, but are not limited to, commodes, toilets, faucets, hand railing, telephones, door handles, computer equipment, and kitchen preparation surfaces.
o Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection frequently touched surfaces when there are many sick children (e.g., increase cleaning to twice daily to maintain cleanliness, with frequently touched surfaces cleaned and disinfected three times daily).
o Clean and disinfect surfaces starting from the areas with a lower likelihood of contamination (e.g., tray tables, counter tops) to areas with highly contaminated surfaces (e.g., toilets, bathroom fixtures).
o Change mop heads when a new bucket of cleaning solution is prepared, or after cleaning large spills of vomit or fecal material.
o Consider avoiding the use of upholstered furniture and rugs or carpets, as these objects are difficult to clean and disinfect completely. If this option is not possible, immediately clean soilage, such as vomit or fecal material, from upholstery, using a manufacturer-approved cleaning agent or detergent. Consider discarding items that cannot be appropriately cleaned/disinfected.
· After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces.
o Use a chlorine bleach solution (see attached, or page 40 of the Prevention and Control of Communicable Disease Manual) or other disinfectant registered as effective against norovirus by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
o PCHD and the Missouri Department of Health do not recommend using Clorox wipes or other disinfectant wipes(scented or unscented), as they can increase incidence of asthma in students and cause other allergic reactions.
Another good resource for school cleaning and exclusion guidelines as well as information on diseases like influenza and norovirus is the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Prevention and Control of Communicable Disease Manual, available at http://health.mo.gov/living/families/schoolhealth/pdf/Communicable_Disease.pdf.
Please let us know if you if there is anything else we can do to assist you in keeping your schools healthy.