School nurse shares tips to avoid the flu

With the flu near epedemic levels in Blair County, Mrs. Patton tells students how to avoid getting sick.


TASD School nurse Julie Patton takes sixth grade student Gracey Walk’s temperature in her office.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Blair County has had more flu cases than any other county in the state.  There have been seventy-nine cases of influenza between September and December in Blair County. There have also been more than 200 deaths statewide.

Tyrone High School Nurse Julie Patton wants students to take these statistics seriously.

According to Patton, “Cover your mouth” and “wash your hands” are pieces of advice you should not take lightly. They are prevention tips that will keep the flu from spreading through the school.

Don’t stay up half the night playing xbox. Go to sleep!

— School Nurse Julie Patton

Here are some tips that students should follow to avoid getting and spreading the flu:

Wash your hands.

You have been reminded with words and posters since elementary school to wash your hands.  But how do you do this correctly?

According to Patton, running your hands under the water and leaving doesn’t cut it. You have to use warm water, soap, and scrub your hands for 15-20 seconds. Viruses can survive for about two hours on doorknobs, your desk, and even the chair you pull out at lunch. If you don’t have access to a sink, you can always use hand sanitizer which is available in any classroom.

Stop touching your face.

Biting nails can definitely spread the flu more quickly. The eyes, nose, and mouth are entry points for viruses.

Don’t cough without covering your mouth.

Remember when you were little and they told you not to cough into your hand? It’s because if you cough in your hand and then touch your desk, you could be spreading the flu. The next period whoever sits in your seat could get the flu from you.

Coughing into a tissue is the best idea, end of story.

Do not share drinks or chap-stick.

Even if your lips are REALLY chapped, you shouldn’t ask your friend to borrow their chap-stick.  Or share their drink. Or use their fork because you don’t feel like getting one. You very well might get sick if they had the flu within the last 24 hours.

Get more sleep.

We all know that high school can be stressful. We all have projects, papers, and assignments due soon for our classes. Do it at a reasonable hour.

According to a study done by the University of Health Services, lack of sleep causes a reduction in the function of your immune system. This makes it easier to contract the flu.

Stay hydrated.

Dehydration is possible even when it’s cold outside.


To strengthen your immune system, you also need to exercise!  Even if it’s just walking, do it 3-4 times a week. It will help you out in the long run and help you not get the flu.

Eat healthy.

You’re probably sick of hearing about how you need to “eat healthy”, but you need to. It’s another way to strengthen your immune system. Fruits and vegetables can be the key to not getting sick.

Don’t come to school if you are sick.

— School Nurse Julie Patton

Finally, Mrs. Patton wants has one last piece of advice for all students, teachers and staff: 

Don’t come to school if you are sick.

Patton knows that there are overachievers in the district who don’t want to miss any school, or who want perfect attendance, but sick students have to stay home. If you have had a fever of 100 degrees don’t bother showing up until you are fever free for 24 hours.