Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Approximately 5-20% of U.S. residents get the flu each year. In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter. Seasonal flu activity usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as early as October and as late as May.
Because school districts are particularly vulnerable to flu outbreaks, school employees and parents can be instrumental in slowing the spread of these viruses. This page contains information about the current flu season and resources for educators and parents for flu preparation and prevention.
Current Flu Season
The 2013 flu season began earlier than usual, and infections are currently widespread through most of the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control FluView Weeky Report, the most commonly seen flu strains in the 2012-2013 season include Influenza A (H3), Influenza A (2009 H1N1), and Influenza B. This season's vaccine is made from these three viruses. Additional details about the current flu season are available at FLU.gov.
Flu Information for Educators
According to the Centers for Disease Control, educators and school administrators have the potential to be the first line of defense in slowing the spread of flu during an outbreak. School employees should understand influenza and how it spreads, know who is at highest risk for severe flu-related illness, and be able to recognize symptoms and emergency warning signs. A number of federal and state resources are available help educators prepare for flu season:
CDC School Planning Toolkit
Guidance, checklists and resources to help school officials create plans for flu outbreaks and pandemics.
Questions and Answers: Information for Schools
This FAQ compiled by the CDC provides answers to flu-related questions commonly asked by school administrators, teachers, staff, and parents.
The Texas Department of State Health Services flu information website.
Flu Information for Parents
While educators can prepare to manage influenza outbreaks and slow the spread of the flu virus, parents can help reduce the chance of outbreaks by protecting their own children against the flu. The CDC provides the following resources for parents:
Children, the Flu, and the Flu Vaccine
Information about the danger of flu and flu vaccination recommendations for children and their contacts.
Protecting Against the Flu: Advice for Caregivers of Children Younger Than 6 Months Old
Research has shown that children younger than 5 years of age are at high risk of serious flu-related complications.
The Flu: A Guide for Parents (PDF, 252 KB,)
Questions and answers about the flu, how to protect your child, treatment, etc.