Delaware preps for return of H1N1 flu

    Following a mild outbreak of the H1N1 flu in Delaware this past spring, state officials are trying to make sure residents are ready for the “swine” flu to return this fall. Director of the Division of Public Health Dr. Karyl Rattay says it “could be a very hectic fall.”

    Following a mild outbreak of the H1N1 flu in Delaware this past spring, state officials are trying to make sure residents are ready for the “swine” flu to return this fall. Director of the Division of Public Health Dr. Karyl Rattay says it “could be a very hectic fall.”

    State leaders gathered at Caesar Rodney High School in Camden to outline plans to deal with H1N1. Governor Jack Markell (D) stressed that everyone must continue the good hygiene lessons they’ve been taught since kindergarten including frequently washing hands and covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing. “If you do get sick, stay home. That’s really the focus.”

    This school year, the state Department of Education has different guidelines for students who get sick with the H1N1 flu. Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery says in the spring, CDC guidelines called for students who got sick with H1N1 to stay out of school for seven days. This school year, that requirement has been reduced. Now, students will be allowed to return to class 24 hours after their fever has subsided, Lower says, “Because at that point, they would not be considered contagious.”

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    Lowery says she doesn’t believe the school year will be disrupted by another outbreak of H1N1.  She says there’s so much more solid information available about the virus now, compared to a lot of misinformation about “swine” flu in the spring.  “The state of Delaware is being very proactive around this, so I think [students] feel very safe and secure and know that if something should happen in a very drastic way that we’re prepared to deal with it.”

    A vaccine for H1N1 flu is expected to be available between mid-October and early November.  The Division of Public Health will have extra flu clinics open this year to offer residents vaccines for the regular flu, as well as H1N1.

    Click here to find more information about Delaware’s plans to deal with the H1N1 flu.

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