Flu taking a toll on local schools

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The flu has hit Region 8 schools hard this year.

Everyone from students to teachers to staff is missing school days because of the flu.

"When we call to get substitute teachers, it's hard to get substitute teachers, too, because they've been sick as well," school nurse Tara Lehman said.

However, Westside Elementary has declared war on the flu virus.

"Teachers have told me they wipe down stuff with Clorox wipes. They'll wipe down their chairs, their pencil sharpeners, anything that they can think of that their students come in contact with," Lehman said. "And we have a lot of dispensers with hand sanitizer in them outside of classrooms, and a lot of kids will use that."

The school also participated in a district-wide flu clinic Nov. 8.

"We had one at the high school, middle school and elementary, and the students and staff were allowed to get a flu shot or a flu mist," Lehman said. "I always get my flu shot and I recommend people get a flu shot or the nasal spray."

But for those who maybe did not prepare, Lehman said to look for the typical signs.

"Coughing, sneezing, body aching, you just need to stay home, especially if you've been running fever," Lehman said. "Stay home as much as possible. Even going to the mall, movies, Walmart, any where, keep them home. Don't bring them into public spaces and be around people because germs will spread easily that way."

To avoid spreading germs, Lehman said to cover your coughs and sneezes.

"Wash your hands as much as possible. If you can't wash your hands with soap and water, then use disinfectant," Lehman said.

Lehman said the flu virus should be gone before March.

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