Azle ISD Brings in Germ Busters to Prevent Spreading the Flu

As if you needed more proof that we are knee deep in flu season, Texas is now one of the states where activity is high, the worst category to be in.

So far this season, 29 children across the country have died from the flu. The current vaccine has been shown to work about half the time.

Hospitals like John Peter Smith Hospital are seeing a steady rise in flu cases.

The Tarrant County Health Department says the flu is widespread and happening more than average for this time of year.

That includes two reported outbreaks in Tarrant County schools, leading the Azle school district to new levels of disinfecting.

If love were enough, no child at Eagle Heights Elementary would ever get sick. Nurse Heather Lee has evidence all around her office of the children she's helped heal. 

"These might make me cry," Lee said as she pulled out a box of handwritten thank you notes from students.

A sampling:

"Dear Nurse Lee, I love when you help me when something is wrong."

"Thank you for the itching medication that you put on my arm, thank you for everything you have done."

"You are the best of all the nurses."

But when it comes to the flu in an elementary school, love is not enough.

"When those kids cough or sneeze, even speak, those droplets of germs travel about six feet away from where they're standing,” said Lee. “That's much more surface than just a child's desk."

So Azle ISD is bringing in the big guns. It's not Ghostbusters, but germ busters, a disinfecting e-mist spray that coats everything in a room at a rate of 8,000 square feet an hour.

"We could come in and treat an entire campus in a weekend or evening if we felt there was an outbreak," said Todd Smith, Director of District Operations for Azle ISD.

The e-misters are made by a Fort Worth company and Azle is now the first school district to have one in every campus with a simple goal.

"Keep kids in school,” Smith said. “We want kids to come to school. We want kids to learn in school and same with our teachers. We want our teachers to be here."

Hoping to keep visits to Nurse Lee more about arts and crafts than coughs and sneezes.

While Tarrant County Health says flu cases are above average, they say it's not off the charts like in some years past and point out there are other illnesses out there crowding doctors’ offices, as well.

They also say it’s still not too late to get a flu shot, even if you have already gotten sick, the shot can protect against other strains of the flu.

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