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VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH STRESSES TIPS FOR A HEALTHY HOLIDAY SEASON
(Richmond, Va.) As schools let out for the winter break and families visit loved ones near and far, children may be spreading more than just holiday cheer. An increase in reports of influenza and norovirus in schools underscores the importance of preventing the spread of illness this holiday season. Additionally, it’s not too late to get vaccinated against the flu. The circulating strains of flu are a good match to those included in this year’s vaccine.
“Over the past three weeks, the number of flu outbreaks reported each week increased from two to 28, and norovirus outbreaks went from three to 11,” said Acting State Health Commissioner Maureen E. Dempsey, MD, FAAP. “The majority of those were in school settings. With so much illness circulating, it’s important that we all do our part to help prevent the spread of disease and to protect those who are most vulnerable to serious complications.”
Although anyone can get sick from influenza or norovirus, certain people, particularly those with other health conditions or who are in frail health, are more vulnerable to complications that can lead to hospitalization or even death.
The Virginia Department of Health urges everyone to take the following precautions to prevent the spread of illness:
“No one likes getting sick, but for those people at higher risk for complications it can be very serious and even life threatening,” said Dr. Dempsey. “By staying home when you are are sick, keeping sick children home, covering your cough and washing your hands frequently, you are helping other people stay well and out of the hospital during the holidays.”
For more tips on having a safe and healthy holiday season, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov.