Although no confirmed cases of the swine flu have been identified in Manatee County as of Monday, Manatee County Public Schools officials are asking parents to beginning planning for the possibility of school closings.
The district, in cooperation with the Manatee County Health Department, made this announcement following a probable case identified in Hillsborough County that resulted in the closing of three Hillsborough schools, district officials said.
The purpose of closing schools is to decrease contact among children to reduce their risk of getting sick and to limit the spread of the influenza. The length of school closings could range from a few days to a couple of weeks, so parents should begin to arrange daycare plans for students should their school be closed.
If a school is going to be closed, parents and staff will be contacted via the district’s Connect-Ed phone messaging system, a letter sent home with students and through local media such as YourObserver.com. Until an official decision to close a school is made, normal absentee procedures remain in place for all district schools.
If a probable or confirmed case is diagnosed and a school is closed, it is important that students from those schools stay away from other people and groups as much as possible. They should not gather in other locations such as shopping malls, movie theaters or community centers.
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat and body aches. If someone in your family has symptoms that might indicate influenza, make sure they see a health care provider quickly for diagnosis.
Here are some tips for helping family members who are sick with the swine flu:
• Have them drink a lot of liquid (juice, water).
• Keep the sick person as comfortable as possible.
• Rest is important.
• Keep tissues and a trash bag within reach of the sick person.
• Be sure everyone in your home washes their hands frequently.
• Keep the people who are sick with the flu away from the people who are not sick.
For more information on the Swine Flu please visit any of the following Web sites:
In addition, a toll-free information line has been established to address questions about Swine Flu from the public. The phone number is 1-800-342-3557 and it is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.