Chapter 5 | How to Determine When to go to Work/School during a Pandemic - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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How to Determine When to Go to Work or School During a Pandemic

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Returning to Work

These are suggested guidelines to follow for someone who has recently recovered from influenza and is trying to determine whether or not it is safe to return to work.

Current Criteria for Returning to Work After SEASONAL Influenza

Workers who have become ill with influenza should stay at home until all of the following criteria are met:

  • At least 5 days have passed since the symptoms of illness began;
    AND
  • Fever has resolved and has not been present for at least 24 hours;
    AND
  • Cough is improving (decreasing in frequency and amount of secretions with no associated chest discomfort or shortness of breath).

Upon returning to the work environment, employees should continue to follow cough etiquette and hand washing protocols.

Criteria for PANDEMIC Influenza

Experts do not know whether the mode of transmission, incubation period, or contagious period of a pandemic influenza virus will be similar to those of the regular seasonal influenza. Because of this, employers must be alert to specific recommendations from the State of Wisconsin Division of Public Health during an influenza pandemic. Management of illness in the workplace, including when it is safe for workers to return to the work, will be communicated through various media channels as necessary.

Keeping Children Home from School

During a pandemic, it is possible that schools will be closed in order to prevent the spread of the influenza virus. However, if schools are still open, use the diagram below as a guide to help with making decisions about whether on not to send children to school. These guidelines can also be used to determine if a child should be sent to daycare or other activities where they will be exposed to other children.

During Flu Outbreaks

I should keep my child home when he/she...

  • Appears ill
  • Is abnormally pale
  • Is unable to comfortably participate in regular school activities
  • Is sweaty
  • Has a temperature* when it is not hot outside and has not been really active
  • Has a cough or sneezing that is not normal for my child
  • Complains of pain in ears, throat, head or chest
  • Has thrown up in the past 12 hours
  • Had 2 or more episodes of diarrhea in the past 24 hours

*A temperature is: over 100.4º by mouth, or 102º rectally or 100º under arm or 102º in ear.

Do not take the temperature by mouth for a child under 4 years of age.