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Oklahoma Schools Battling Spreading of Flu

COMANCHE CO., Okla_ The flu has shut down one school in northeastern Oklahoma today.

Our 7News team checked out the impact of the flu at schools in southwest Oklahoma. So far, it's not that bad. Lawton Public Schools said their absentee rate was about 7% Thursday, and most of the absentees were away with flu-like symptoms.  They said that's just a little higher than the average number of absentees for this time of year. Meanwhile Altus and Frederick school systems are reporting even lower absentee rates connected to the flu.

School officials said many things factor into a student's likelihood of getting sick at school, from the size of the school to the health measures they've taken. One thing is for so sure: officials hope their safeguards keep up.

Out of the 253 students that attend Frederick High School, one only has come down with the flu so far this season. Principal Randy Biggs said he and school staff is constantly reminding students of what to do so that number doesn't increase.

"We encourage our kids to wash their hands," Biggs said, "Above and beyond anything else."

He said while that may sometimes be impossible for students, the school is offering an alternative method: hand sanitizers in all 19 of their classrooms.

"Those stay full. As a matter of fact, we've checked them recently and their all working."

He said the school has had them for quite some time, but Frederick High School teacher Phyllis Allee said she's seeing students take time to use them even more these days.

"When we do hall duty our kids come by and slap the dispenser," Allee said. "You know, they get the gel on their hands and wash their hands."

Local health experts said Frederick High is right on track. They said washing your hands or a quick dab of hand sanitizer is a great way to keep the flu from spreading.

Allee said another thing teachers do to keep the flu virus at bay is clean classroom desks.

"We just wipe them down," Allee said. "Try to keep everyone healthy as possible."

Principal Biggs said whatever methods the school is using to stay healthy, they're glad it's paying off.

"We take precautions for our kids," Biggs said, "And encourage them because sometimes they're in a hurry. Just take the time and do it real quickly. They may not think it does much good, but it does."

Health experts do say not to rely on solely on hand sanitizer. They still encourage washing your hands with soap and water as a number one preventative measure for spreading the flu.

The State Health Department indicates 325 Oklahomans have been hospitalized with the flu, and eight have died.

The Comanche County Health Department has asked the Lawton/Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce to provide information regarding the widespread flu activity in Oklahoma. 

Please consider reading, distributing and posting the attached messages and help stop the spread of flu in your business:

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