Because most of its victims recover within a few days, Arrowhead Elementary School stayed open after one of its students was confirmed to have H1N1 influenza.

Because most of its victims recover within a few days, Arrowhead Elementary School stayed open after one of its students was confirmed to have H1N1 influenza.

Olentangy schools announced the student's illness last week, the district's only confirmed case as of Sept. 28, said Karen Truett, district spokesperson.

On Tuesday, the school district said an Olentangy High School student had H1N1.

The district followed last week's announcement with reminders to parents that H1N1 is "currently not being treated in the same manner as it was last spring."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health and the Delaware General Health District are not recommending school closures for isolated cases. "H1N1 appears to be a mild influenza with most persons recovering in a few days," a document from the district said.

Health district spokesperson Jesse Carter said, "We're always concerned, but it doesn't mean that we're in a situation where closing schools is warranted at this point, but it could be the situation if we had widespread flu and it is needed to stop the spread."

Carter said a small increase in numbers of children ages 10-17 visiting doctors because of flu-like symptoms occurred during the week of Sept. 12-18.

One of the district's schools in the Powell area "saw a significant jump in absences due to influenza-like illnesses, but the total (number of students) absent remained under 10 percent," he said.

The health district has supplied local schools with letters to send home with children who are ill. The letters advise parents on various ways to help prevent flu, he said.

The Olentangy district's student handbooks define a fever as 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above. They state children must be fever-free for "twenty-four hours without benefit of any medication" before returning to school.

Carter said the health district uses an electronic monitoring system that follows the sales of over-the-counter medications to help gauge the onset of flu. For instance, last week, the sale of cough and cold medicines, thermometers and throat lozenges increased in the county.

"When the sales go up, that might evidence a problem and we look at that," he said.

In August, the Ohio Department of Health changed its protocol on testing for H1N1, Carter said.

At that point, the state decided to test only when someone with symptoms is hospitalized or is suspected of being part of a cluster of cases, he said. That protocol allows public health experts to identify the most severe cases and outbreaks, he said.

H1N1 symptoms are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, he said, noting that some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting.

Carter said the district hasn't kept track of the number of cases in the county since August, when the state changed its testing protocols.

"As of early August, we had four confirmed cases in Delaware County, two adults and two children. They were not related and they all recovered," he said.

Carter said parents always should have a plan in place for childcare should their children need to stay home from school.

He also stressed the best ways to avoid contracting the flu and other illnesses:

Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap.

Cover your coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue.

Stay home from work or school if you are feeling sick.

bbutcher@thisweeknews.com