Multiple East Texas school districts have canceled classes for Friday due to an increase in absences stemming from illnesses.

The current Walgreens Flu Index ranks the Tyler-Longview (Lufkin and Nacogdoches) area as No. 1 in the nation for flu activity.

As a state, Texas is currently third in the rankings behind Mississippi and Nebraska.

Here is the list of school districts that will be closed:

• Eustace ISD — Classes will resume as normal on Monday.

Even though school is canceled, the district says all athletic events will continue as scheduled.

• Gladewater ISD — Classes will resume on Monday.

District officials said students and faculty will make up the missed day on Thursday, March 7.

• Mount Vernon ISD — Classes will resume as normal on Tuesday as Monday is a staff development day.

All elementary and junior high events scheduled to take place after school are also canceled. The boys basketball games against Commerce, slated for Friday night, will carry on as planned, as will a couple of other off-campus high school extra-curricular events.

• LaPoynor ISD — Classes will resume Monday.

• Murchinson ISD — Classes will resume Monday.

• Oakwood ISD — Classes will resume Monday.

TIPS ON PREVENTING THE FLU

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.

There also are antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent flu.

Preventive measures include:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.

• If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are spread by cough, sneezing or unclean hands.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are spread when a person touches something that is contaminated and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

• Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

• Wash your hands — Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcoholbased hand rub.

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