Preparing For School
Autumn marks the beginning of another school year and the start of a new flu season—two good reasons to think about immunization. Cooler weather means more time spent indoors, and a greater likelihood of being exposed to microorganisms that cause preventable infectious diseases. The best way to avoid these potentially serious illnesses is to make sure your whole family’s immunizations are up to date.
The flu vaccine must be updated every year, ideally before flu season begins in October, to protect against the latest strains of influenza. As the kids head back to class, immunization against preventable childhood diseases tops the to-do list, especially in light of the pertussis outbreak in New Brunswick last spring that, by early July, had affected more than 900 people, most of whom were children.
Pertussis is a respiratory illness known for coughing spells followed by a “whoop" sound before the next breath. Severe coughing may persist for six to 12 weeks. Early signs include cold-like symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and mild cough.
Whooping cough is easily transmitted through airborne droplets from the coughs and sneezes of an infected person. People of any age can catch pertussis; young infants and pregnant women are most severely affected. Most cases in New Brunswick have occurred in primary school age children and in babies younger than one. Immunize Canada notes that pertussis in adults is increasing. A booster is now recommended for adults and is available in combination with the tetanus and diphtheria booster. This is especially important for people who have not been vaccinated in the past five years and are in close, regular contact with children younger than one.
Influenza Facts To Consider
Influenza can confine you to bed for five to 10 days. Recovery may take up to six weeks. The elderly or ill are most vulnerable. And if you aren’t immunized, they may catch it from you. Getting a flu shot helps protect you and your nearest and dearest.
The best two-for-one benefit may be for mothers to be. A recent study found that the babies of women who were vaccinated during pregnancy were at significantly lower risk of developing influenza for up to six months after birth, a bonus since infants younger than six months old are vulnerable to influenza but not eligible for immunization.
Regular, thorough hand washing is key to preventing the spread of disease-causing organisms. Get your kids ready for school by teaching them when and how to clean their hands.
When to wash? Before and after handling food; after going to the bathroom; and after contact with someone who is ill.
How to wash?
- Remove jewellery.
- Rinse before and after washing with warm, running water.
- Lather with soap by rubbing hands together for at least 10 seconds.
- Wash all surfaces of the hands and fingers, paying special attention to thumbs, backs of fingers and hands, and under nails.
- Dry on a clean towel.
Brought to you by vaccines411.ca – know where to go for your vaccinations.
This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Note: the hyperlinks that direct to other sites are not continuously updated. It is possible that some links become untraceable over time. Thank you.
- 3 Steps to Take to Prevent Influenza - Immunize Canada
- New Brunswick Pertussis Outbreak. Update to July 3, 2012.
- New Brunswick. Update / whooping cough outbreak. 26 March 2012
- Pertussis (Whooping Cough) – Fact Sheet - Infectious Diseases - Public Health Agency of Canada
- Immunize Canada. Response 2.
- Eick AA et al. Maternal influenza vaccination and effect on influenza virus infection in young infants. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011 Feb;165(2):104-11.
- Latest News & Updates for Ob-Gyns.