H1N1 Attacks Indianapolis Schools

With letters sent home to the parents of all Indianapolis kids, the Indianapolis School system is preparing for the worst during this year’s H1N1 flu season. Several Central Indiana schools are getting worried that H1N1 will soon strike their campuses, and with good reason.

There are already four schools in Indianapolisthat have had cases of influenza A, 98 percent of which are being considered H1N1. The infected Indianapolis schools include Maple Elementary in Avon, Forest Hill Elementary in Noblesville, Edinburgh Elementary, and Immaculate Heart of Mary both on the north side of Indianapolis.

Thought the letter sent out by Avon Community School Corporation was merely cautionary, parents are getting worried about the alert. The possible case of H1N1 at Maple Elementary has parents in the Indianapolis community thinking twice about sending there Indianapolis kids back to school.

“I’ve never thought about home schooling my kids before in my life but I’ve thought about it recently with all this talk about the H1N1.It really makes me nervous to think my kids might be exposed to it and I just want to keep them safe,” said one parent, Kristee Kruse.

The letter, which was sent out last Tuesday says: “currently flu conditions at Maple Elementary have become more severe with the first confirmed case of H1N1 flu virus verified yesterday.” In addition the letter informed parents of some fo the steps Avon Community School Corporation is taking to prevent the spread of the virus. “The custodial staff cleaned all door knobs, tables and desks, with bleach solution. Additionally, the floors have been disinfected with Lysol.” The school also plans for teachers to move desks further apart.

Dr. Timothy Ogle, the superintendent of the Avon Community School Corporation weighed in, “We have a desire and a partnership with our parents to make sure that if we have information they have it.”

The letter went out only one day after a parent of the infected child came to Maple Elementary with medical confirmation. Though the case has not yet been confirmed by the Indiana state health department, school officials felt obligated to spread the alert faster than the virus.

“Our desire as guardians of 8,000 children is to be as transparent and open with our parent community as we can be,” said said Ogle.

The Indiana Department of Health is asking that all cases of flu in the Indianapolis school system and surrounding Indianapolis metro areabe treated as the H1N1 virus. We are not yet in the regular flu season meaning that 98 percent of Type A flu cases are likly to be H1N1.

Tips for Moms and Dads:

Know the symptoms and signs of the flu! They include:

  • fever (100° F)
  • cough,
  • sore throat
  • runny/stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • tired feeling
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

If you or someone you love exhibits these symptoms, be sure to stay or keep them home for at least two days. They must be fever free without medication for two days.

Children who are sick in the Indianapolis school system will be sent home. Do not send your child to school if they are exhibiting the symptoms of the ful.

The Indiana State Department of Health has confirmed 314 cases of H1N1 in Indiana as of last Monday. Thousands more are suspected.

There have been four deaths in the state linked to the flu outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control predicts as many as 90,000 United States citizens could die as the outbreak gets worse this fall. That’s nearly three times the number of annual deaths from seasonal flu.

Vaccine info

Marion County is offering several flu vaccine clinics.

However, the regular flu vaccine will not protect against H1N1, as it is a new flu strain. Separate vaccines for H1N1 are needed. When they are made available Indianapolis health agencies will work to get the vaccine to the primary focus groups. These include:

  1. Pregnant women
  2. People who care for and live with children under 6 months old
  3. Health care and emergency medical services personnel
  4. People between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old
  5. People between the ages of 25 and 64 years old who are higher risk because of pre-existing conditions