Wichita flu cases not at peak yet

Published On: Jan 22 2014 05:26:50 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 23 2014 01:46:48 PM CST

We're seeing more signs of the flu in Kansas, and school nurses say it's keeping many children out of class. The county health director says Sedgwick County hasn't reached the peak yet.

First graders are learning new words at Anderson Elementary, but this class isn't full. Twenty-six students called in sick Tuesday, ten more were sent home with symptoms

"That's a ton," said Nichole Leatherwood, school nurse. "They were just coming in one right after the other."

Leatherwood says it's better for kids to stay home until they're fever-free for 24-hours. Plus she's teaching kids better hand washing habits to help stop the flu from spreading.

"I go to classes and try to tell them that we can't see our germs, and we have to make sure we keep our hands clean," Leatherwood said.

The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show flu cases are still going up in Wichita. County Health Director Claudia Blackburn expects to reach the peak soon.

"We have triggers set, so when the rates go above what we expect we get emails and phone calls," Blackburn said.

Blackburn gave County Commissioners an update on the flu season Wednesday. She says even though cases should go down, people can still get the flu through the month of May.

"The flu is really unpredictable," Blackburn added. "So we don't know, sometimes you'll peak and then you'll have a decline and then you will spike again."

That's why school nurses are staying vigilant to help prevent more kids from getting sick.