Johnson City

Kingsport schools trying to combat flu epidemic

Local flu cases

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 children have died from the flu nationwide.

"We get our flu shots, we take our allergy medicine, we know to wash our hands," said Christy Cleek.

Christy Cleek tells News 5 she's taken extra precautions this year to prevent her 3rd-grader from getting the flu.

We learned a number students across our region have missed school due to the widespread effect of the influenza virus.

Dr. David Hassell said Monday he saw four children who had symptoms of the flu. "[The flu] had come down to one or two cases a day instead of ten or twelve. Now there's a resurgence. It's typical of the flu to have several peaks," said Hassell.

Hassell explained to us that the most common symptom among children is a fever. "In general kids aren't going to say, 'I'm sore all over,' they are just going to sit on the couch and play video games instead of going outside and playing ball," said Hassell.

Oftentimes young children have a hard time describing their symptoms, but Kingsport City Schools has specific criteria as to when to send a child home. "If they come in and they have a fever, or they are complaining of a headaches or sore throat with a fever, then I would obviously send them home. If they have a fever over 101 degrees, then I recommend that they follow up with a doctor," said Suzanne Folkner.

Suzanne Folkner is a registered nurse at John Adams Elementary, and she tells us lately she's seen students with symptoms of the flu every day. "Usually after we come back from Christmas, then we get kind of prepared to see an increase in illnesses," said Folkner.

As for Cleek, she tells us she's thankful for the school nurse, and she's doing her best to make sure her child doesn't get sick. "It's my job as a parent to let him know the proper ways to keep him from getting sick, and then how to protect him when he's at school," said Cleek.

Click here for additional information on how you can keep your child from getting the flu.

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