Top Tips for Flu Season

Is it me or has this year’s flu season been worse than usual? Our faculty has been ravaged, attendance in my #PhysEd class has been low enough to make the numbers manageable (!) and as I type, my son is on his fifth day with a temperature over 103. So, in an act of frustration, I thought I’d share my top tips for staying safe through the latest virus outbreak.

CDC Reports 13 Million Flu Cases Thus Far in 2019-20 Season.

Stay home and get some rest.

I hate it when students are out due to sickness and then get worried that they’ve missed something really important and implore me to allow them to make up the missing work. Or worse still, when students (and teachers alike) cough and splutter their way through a lesson and when asked why they’re in school they respond with “I’ve missed too much time, and work, already”

Stay home and avoid contact with others. Use that time to rest and recover. You do NOT need to be in a crowded room, and you do NOT need to push yourself through an illness. There are no bravery awards for coming to school sick. Get some sleep!

The CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the need to use a fever-reducing medicine, such as acetaminophen. Until then, you should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings.

Wash your hands. Often.

Studies reveal that school-wide hand washing programs can make a difference in the health of students and staff and, as a result, improve school attendance.

“The most important thing that you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands,” according to the CDC’s official statement on hand washing.

My local elementary school recently contacted parents and gave the following hand washing advice. They said that hands should be washed:

  1. Before snacks and lunch.
  2. After Using the bathroom.
  3. After coughing, sneezing, or blowing our nose.
  4. After playing with or caring for animals.
  5. Whenever hands look, smell, or feel dirty.


I am co-sponsor for a club at school called Peer Helping. One of our advocacy efforts involves promoting hand hygiene in conjunction with the school nurse. We make daily ‘fun germ facts’ announcements in the morning, hang posters around the school and hand out free samples of tissue and hand sanitizer. We also printed these door hangers to hang on classroom and office doors. We created the design using Canva which is now offering free access to Canva Pro to educators. Check this link here.

Now would also be the right time to remind you of the ‘Handwash Rap’ from my co-worker, the Scholarly Rapper,  Andy Horne.

Stay hydrated.

Colds and flu can dehydrate the body, especially if sweating with a fever, or through faster breathing rate. A dehydrated body isn’t as efficient as a hydrated one and hot beverages might feel more soothing than cold ones. You could reach for something like Thera-Flu but I also like to make my own remedies, with my latest favorite being this Apple and Baobab hot toddy, which is high in Vitamin C.

Ingredients & Recipe:

1 tsp Baobab Powder
Apple juice (400ml/1.7 cups)
3 star anise
3 slices of root ginger
a generous pinch of ground cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Simmer for 3 minutes before turning off the heat and straining the juice. Recipe taken from Honestly Healthy in a Hurry.

Get a flu shot.

What if there were a small step you could take that would prevent you from getting sick, stop you from missing work, and help ensure you won’t play a part in killing the young, the sick, and the elderly?

That actually exists: it’s called the flu shot. But a lot of people don’t get it. Why? Check out the results of my twitter survey below to see that among my followers, it’s almost a 50/50 split. ‘Vaccination hesitancy’ is the polite way to describe why some people choose not to get vaccinated.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine each year. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Here are key facts about the influenza vaccine.

Sneeze Appropriately.

Does it gross you out when students sneeze into their hands? This dated video, ‘Why Don’t We Do It In Our Sleeves’, is my favorite sneeze-technique resource. Years after sharing it with my wife, she’ll still ‘score’ my sneezes. Share it with your students and they’ll start sneeze-scoring too!

Clean your classroom/desk.

Last year I wrote My Healthy Classroom in conjunction with Lysol. Their MyHealthyClassroom site promoted their Healthy Habits Program in partnership


 with the National Education Association (NEA) and National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), to promote health messages from the CDC.

My classroom has 30+ students in it for 4 periods a day and during flu season, I think my room should be wiped down more frequently than normal. I purchased some cleaning wipes and bring them to class regularly so that students can pay closer attention to the desks and chairs than our busy cleaning staff. Here are their downloadable posters:


If you’re looking for an example of very clever, award winning, hand washing posters, you HAVE to download these ‘Literary Classics’ from Allegheny County.

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Please stay healthy during this flu season. Look after yourself first and prevent transmission to others. This was my tweet yesterday – staying home allowed me to catch up on some much needed reading. The Joy of Movement is our Book of the Month.

How bad is the flu right now?  Check out the Weekly US Influenza Surveillance Report from the CDC.

On a related note, the awesome people at Podcast Brunch Club put together this amazing podcast playlist on the Corona Virus.


I have a sudden urge to play PANDEMIC. I own the game but never found the time to learn the rules and play. Now might be the time. It’s a cooperative board game in which players work as a team to treat infections around the world while gathering resources for cures. Have you played this?


One thought on “Top Tips for Flu Season

  1. scowell1

    Love the “Literary Classics?” Will definitely be sharing with my English Dept Chair. We do a lot of collaborating with mental health issues in literature, incorporating our YRBS data. This will be an unexpected gem! Thanks for another great issue of #slowchathealth!


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