Cook County tips to keep children healthy

Posted Monday, November 8th, 2010

In response to the recent occurrence of several cases of vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and low grade fever in suburban Cook County schools, the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) has asked District 54 to make the following recommendations to parents. 

  1. If your child becomes ill with any gastrointestinal type illness (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain) please see your primary medical provider.
  2. Make sure that your child practices proper and frequent hand hygiene at home to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Soap and water should be used for cleansing hands after using the restroom and when hands are visibly soiled. Alternatively, when hands are not soiled, waterless, alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be used.
  3. Clean environmental surfaces (e.g., table tops, door knobs) and surfaces contaminated by vomit with bleach solution (¼ cup bleach to one gallon of water).
  4. Keep ill children away from school for 1 day (24 hours) after symptoms resolve.

Some of the gastrointestinal illnesses at Cook County schools were confirmed to be caused by noroviruses. Although the symptoms for noroviruses generally last only 1 or 2 days, the viruses are highly contagious. The county has issued this alert so that parents and schools can work together to keep our children healthy and in school. More information on noroviruses can be found on the Centers for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus-qa.htm.

Regardless of the cause of the illness, the CDC always recommends the following two actions to stop the spread of germs:

  1. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your shirt sleeve.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and warm water or clean with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (such as the ones we have in District 54 schools).

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your primary care physician, your school nurse or the Cook County Department of Public Health at 708-492-2150.