Helping stop the spreading of flu with ' Tuck-N-Sneeze'

Monday, November 29th 2004, 10:06 am
By: News On 6

A nurse at a Mayes County school is coming out of her shell to teach kids about flu prevention.

News on 6 anchor Craig Day went to Choteau to find out more.

Health experts say one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the flu is to concentrate on school kids. Some Chouteau kids are learning a simple lesson that we all can benefit from.

At Chouteau-Mazie Elementary School, these kids have an important visitor, one that may help keep them from getting the flu. School nurse Carla Miller: "I've always taught my grandchildren to tuck-n-sneeze, so I thought. How can I get this across to the little ones and make it fun."

Meet Tuck-N-Sneeze, the turtle who is actually school nurse Carla Miller. Miller’s lesson is simple. When you feel a sneeze coming on, tuck into your clothing first, just like a turtle tucking into its shell.

Student Stephanie Kinyon: "Because you'll get germs on other people."

By tucking before you sneeze, germs are kept away from others. There is even a song to help the little ones remember. “To keep your germs to yourself, tuck your head into your shell. This way all your germs will be on yourself and not on me."

Student Dakota Whitlock: "I catch germs from my dog and then they get gone when I play with my sister. Then they go back on my dog. Then she puts them back on me."

Tuck-N-Sneeze may not protect you from dog germs, but they will help prevent the spread of viruses from other kids.

Student Joshua Barnes: "Tuck-N-Sneeze. Why is that so important? Because you won't get germs on anybody else."

Miller says as we face shortages of the vaccine, the tuck and sneeze strategy is an important lesson, not just for kids, but for people of all ages. But for now, Tuck-N-Sneeze the turtle will concentrate on children and hope for a mild flu season.

Miller has been teaching the Tuck-N-Sneeze strategy to the kids since October. She says its working.

The school also does the "Scrubby-Bear" program, to encourage kids to wash their hands, which is another way to prevent the spread of the flu.