Take precautions for coronavirus, flu

The coronavirus (2019-nCoV) joins the flu as health concerns this winter season.
The Oakland County Health Division is monitoring reports of coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan, China.
At this time, there are no confirmed cases of the virus in Oakland County. A few 2019-nCoV cases are confirmed in the United States, all travelers returning to the U.S. from abroad. 
Clarkston Community Schools takes direction from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oakland County Health Division, and Clarkston Medical Group physicians with the district’s on-campus health centers.
Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. Respiratory illnesses are spread mainly through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, and/or eyes. 
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. They suggest individuals avoid touching their face with unwashed hands and avoid close contact with those who are sick. The incubation period for 2019-nCoV is estimated to be between 2-14 days.
Clarkston Community Schools routinely cleans and disinfects surfaces, especially during cold and flu season, but the best way to prevent the spread of any illness – including even the common cold – is to keep sick children home, according to the district, which follows guidelines established by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Communicable Disease and Immunization.
When making the decision to keep your child home due to illness, general guidelines include:
Fever: A child has a temperature of 100.4°F taken by mouth or 99.4°F taken under the arm. The child should not return until 24 hours of no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications. 
Diarrhea: A child has two loose or watery stools, even if there are no other signs of illness. The child should have no loose stools for 24 hours prior to returning to school. The exception is when a healthcare provider has determined it is not infectious. 
Vomiting: The child should have no vomiting episodes for 24 hours prior to returning to school. 
Rash: The child should not return to school until the rash subsides or until a healthcare provider has determined it is not infectious. 
Certain communicable diseases: Children diagnosed with certain communicable diseases may have to be excluded for a certain period of time.
In a letter sent to Clarkston families, the district said it has received a few doctor’s notes indicating that a child can return to school when fever-free. The district asks all families follow the established guidelines and ensure that there is a 24-hour period of no fever. Health Center hours at Sashabaw Middle School are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30-11:30 a.m., and Fridays from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Health Center hours at North Sashabaw Elementary are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 p.m.-4 p.m.
To make an appointment at one of the Health Centers, call 248-623-8100.

— Matt Mackinder