KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Knox County Health Department gave suggestions on how to keep your kids healthy. Officials said several bugs, not just the flu, are going around the Knoxville area. Parents said they are taking precautions to make sure illness doesn’t come back home.
At Jump Jam on Tuesday, kids were jumping for joy because they did not have school. Jennifer Johnson’s daughter was excited to be out of school. Parents, like Johnson, were not as excited. She had to look for things to do. She brought her daughter to Jump Jam to get out of the house. While she was having fun, a bad bug was bouncing around East Tennessee.
“I know they have had a lot of substitute teachers,” said Johnson.
So many kids, teachers and substitutes out sick. The Knox County Health Department said people are not only sick with the flu.
“Stomach bugs to influenza, which is a respiratory illness and just other respiratory things like really bad colds or sinus infections,” said Dr. Martha Buchanan, Director of Knox County Health Department.
Dr. Buchanan said flu season hasn’t been abnormal. She said this time of the year is pretty common for illness.
“The air is less humid so when you cough and sneeze that stuff doesn’t go as far away from you so it falls closer to you and it might get on other people,” said Dr. Buchanan.
She said washing your hands for 20 seconds is the best way to keep your kids healthy. She also said if the hands are not visibly dirty, hand sanitizer works as well.
“That’s the great thing about it, infection control is not rocket science,” said Dr. Buchanan.
Johnson plans to put a bottle of sanitizer in her daughter’s backpack when she goes back to school. The Knox County Health Department also recommended kids stay home until they feel better. If they haven’t already, it said they should get a flu shot. Knox County Health Department now only gives injections after the Center for Disease Control said the flu mist was ineffective.
The Knox County Health Department said it gave 15,000 vaccinations last school year during it’s school clinic. That is when the flu mist was available. During the 2016-2017 school year, it gave 4,500. It said its hard to determine if that difference made any impact on how many people got sick this season.