A lot of children in the Wellington region are currently unwell with winter respiratory illnesses. At this time of year respiratory viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), are common in the community and illnesses can be easily spread in schools and early childhood centres.
Reduce the spread
What schools, early childcare centres and kohanga reo can do to help prevent the spread of influenza-like illness:
Influenza (flu) is a virus that spreads quickly from person to person. It can spread through the air by coughing and sneezing as well as by hands, cups and other objects that have been in contact with an infected person's mouth or nose.
There are a few simple and effective ways to help prevent the spread of influenza in the school and centre environments.
Encourage staff and students to get the influenza immunisation.
Make sure everyone covers their mouth and nose with tissues when coughing and sneezing.
Make sure students (and staff) with symptoms stay at home until they are well and free of symptoms.
Encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly. Put up handwashing posters on noticeboards and in bathrooms.
Clean surfaces that are touched often (door handles, bench tops, toilets, bathroom areas).
Notify Regional Public Health when you suspect an outbreak.
How to recognise an outbreak
An outbreak is:
Early childhood centres:
- Three or more cases (staff or child) exhibiting symptoms of illness in 48 hours or 15% of the centre or a classroom unwell.
Schools and colleges:
- Three or more cases (staff or child) exhibiting symptoms of illness in 48 hours in a class or 15% of the school is unwell.
Outbreaks are notifiable to Regional Public Health (RPH). Phone RPH on 04 570 9002 as soon as possible if you suspect your facility has an outbreak.