How this year's flu season is affecting local schools - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How this year's flu season is affecting local schools

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RICHLAND, WA - It's been a brutal flu season so far, and officials say it's far from over. 

Schools are common place where the flu virus is spread. And since it can be especially dangerous to young children, it's important that the school districts take the proper precautions to keep the kids safe and healthy.

Brandee Hogg, the Health Aide at Jefferson Elementary School in Richland, said schools are being hit harder and earlier this year. Jefferson Elementary currently has a quarter of its student body out with the flu or flu-like symptoms.

But the staff and janitorial staff are doing what they can to protect against the virus. Teachers always have hand sanitizer on hand and are disinfecting surfaces like desks, doors, and handles. 

"The janitorial staff will go in and really get from top to bottom to try to get as much of the bugs out as we possibly can," said Hogg.

 Oftentimes the flu is spread easier between children since they don't always speak up, or they aren't descriptive enough about their symptoms. This is why the best thing teachers and parents can do is listen when children say they don't feel well.

The best defense is the most basic: frequent handwashing with soap and hot water...hand sanitizers are not enough.

And if your child is feeling sick, let them stay home! Even after the worst of their symptoms pass, they can still infect others for up to a week.