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Flu hits Two Harbors High School

Several Two Harbors High School students are believed to have the H1N1 virus.

In a letter sent to parents this week, Superintendent Phil Minkkinen noted that several students have influenza-like illnesses and said it was "likely the H1N1 Novel Influenza."

The symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, or fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

"If your child has a health condition such as asthma, diabetes, lung or heart problems, or is pregnant you should contact their health care provider for instructions if your child develops influenza symptoms," the letter stated. "During the coming school year, more people than usual in our schools and communities are likely to be getting sick with the flu. In addition to the regular seasonal influenza that comes around every fall, we are still likely to be seeing cases of the Novel H1N1 Influenza ("swine flu") that first appeared last spring. Novel H1N1 flu never completely went away over the summer, so the widespread flu season may start early this year."

Symptoms of H1N1 are much like those of seasonal influenza in terms of how sick it makes people and how it is spread. Most people who have had the H1N1 flu in Minnesota have gotten better without complications. However, like any flu virus, novel H1N1 can be a serious disease and people have been hospitalized with it. Several deaths have occurred.

Minkkinen recommended parents keep sick children at home for at least 24 hours after symptoms subside.

In the letter Minkkinen said should the flu worsen, further preventative steps may be taken, including closing schools.

If novel H1N1 influenza begins causing more severe disease, some of the recommendations in this letter may change," he said. "For example, children with flu symptoms may need to stay home longer - up to seven days, regardless of when their fever goes away. Some schools may even need to close, for as long as seven days or more. We will keep you informed if any of these steps become necessary."