National concerns about swine flu have been downgraded, and the response to it by Texas school districts has been too, school nurse Helen Lacy told members of the Brownwood Independent School District Monday night.
“When we first heard about it last spring, it was kind of scary,” Lacy said. “We were hearing reports from Mexico of multiple deaths. But the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has had time to study it. It is now just a flu like any other.”
The problem is, she said, it’s a new strain, so there’s no widespread immunity among people.
A vaccine against the H1N1 virus is expected to be available in October, and the Brownwood-Brown County Health Department is working with school districts to provide information – and on-campus shot clinics are possible.
The advantage of having clinics at school is that more children will be vaccinated. The disadvantage is that since it’s a new shot, possible reactions are not known, Lacy said.
School-age children and young adults will be the first groups to receive the shots.
Meanwhile, Lacy said procedures already in place to prevent or limit the spread of flu will continue to be taught. Those include an emphasis on hand washing, covering mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, and isolating students with high fever and other flu-like systems.
“School closures are now the decisions of the district, but that’s not being recommended,” Lacy said. “Hopefully, we’re going to keep everyone healthy.”