Lohud.com – Students stay home as flu, viruses hit area

Students stay home as flu, viruses hit area

Jane Lerner December 18, 2014

“We have really seen an increase in respiratory illness and fever this week,” said Dr. Alanna Levine at Orangetown Pediatric Associates, an affiliate of Children’s and Women’s Physicians of Westchester.

Colds, viruses and the flu are keeping kids at one Lower Hudson Valley school district home in droves and experts predict more will get sick as people swap germs at holiday celebrations.

Ramapo Central School District has seen the number of student absences rise dramatically over the past several days.

Suffern High School principal Patrick Breen sent a letter to parents Thursday asking them to keep sick students at home to prevent further spread of illness.

The school is taking special steps to sanitize desks, keyboards, door knobs and other common areas to kill germs.

Influenza is already widespread in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties as well as much of the rest of New York, according to the state Department of Health.

The flu season usually peaks in January or February and can continue until the spring.

This is the time of year when people start to get sick.

The Mamaroneck schools are seeing a slight increase in the number of students out sick, which is common this time of year, a spokeswoman said.

Doctors’ offices are becoming packed with people – especially youngsters – with fever, coughs, sore throats and other symptoms.

“We have really seen an increase in respiratory illness and fever this week,” said Dr. Alanna Levine, a pediatrician at Orangetown Pediatric Associates, an affiliate of Children’s and Women’s Physicians of Westchester.(Photo: Courtesy)

“We have really seen an increase in respiratory illness and fever this week,” said Dr. Alanna Levine, a pediatrician at Orangetown Pediatric Associates, an affiliate of Children’s and Women’s Physicians of Westchester.

Many of those young people were diagnosed with RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus infection, which is similar to a bad cold. Others have strep throat and a few have been diagnosed with influenza, she said.

After a few days at home most people are recovering quickly, Levine said.

She recommends that families visiting other people for the holidays isolate a sick child and wash their hands often to prevent spread of the disease.

Flu shots are still available.

Twitter: @JaneLernerNY

Tips to fight the flu

Its not too late to get vaccinated.

If you are exposed to someone with the flu, consult your health care provider to see whether treatment is necessary.

Wash your hands frequently.

Disinfect surfaces like telephones or desktops.

If sick, stay home and rest.

Cover your coughs and sneezes.

Source: New York State Department of Health