Healthy Living Today: Stopping the Flu | Video| 1/24/2013
About 2,500 people in North Dakota have tested positive for the flu. Countless more weren`t tested, but were diagnosed based on symptoms alone. While the season appears to be leveling off, the flu still poses a danger, especially to the very young and the very old. Those who care for our most vulnerable are taking steps to keep them from getting sick.
If you`re walking into the infant room at First Steps Child Care, you`d better sanitize your hands first. "I will chase them down with sanitizer," said Geri Herring with First Steps Daycare.
That`s just one of the steps this daycare center is taking to prevent the flu from spreading.
"It`s almost quarantined off," Herring said.
They also ask parents to keep kids home until they`ve been off medication and fever-free for 24 hours. "We try to do everything we can to prevent it," Herring said.
The center cares for several infants who are too young to get the flu shot, so they`re sure to take extra precautions when flu season comes around.
Long term care centers are in a similar situation, trying to prevent the flu from spreading to their vulnerable residents. "We know influenza is a serious illness for anybody, but especially when it`s affecting an elderly population or immune compromised population," said Terra Greff with St. Gabriel`s Community.
They have a plan in place if the flu does hit, which it has this season, that includes keeping sick people in their rooms as much as possible and keeping sick visitors out.
"We ask people not to visit if they are ill," Greff said.
The center also offers free flu shots to employees and encourages them to stay home if they are sick.
The North Dakota Department of Health says there have been more than 30 flu outbreaks reported in long term care facilities across the state so far this year.