School Nurse: Important Information
Dear Parent or Guardian:
The timing of (Influenza) flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. between December and February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May .The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following approach to fighting influenza. The first and most important step is to get a flu vaccination each year. But if you get the flu, there are prescription antiviral drugs that can treat your illness. Early treatment is especially important for the elderly, the very young, people with certain chronic health conditions, and pregnant women.
Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through droplets created when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Flu viruses may also spread when people touch something with the flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose. Many other viruses such as Pertussis (whooping cough) and Enterovirus are spread the same way. People infected with these viruses may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to spread these viruses to someone else before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick. Young children, those who are severely ill, and those who have severely weakened immune systems may be able to infect others for longer than 5-7 days. Since some of the infections mentioned in this letter can have serious respiratory symptoms, please notify your healthcare provider if your child develops cold like symptoms accompanied by difficulty breathing or a new onset of wheezing. If your child has asthma, please make sure the Nurse’s Office has a copy of your child’s Asthma Action Plan and if needed an inhaler or nebulizer. I am happy to administer any medications to your child during the day as long as I have a medication authorization form signed by your doctor. Please download the form at www.dswashington.org under ADMISSIONS > Forms > Health Forms.
TO PREVENT GETTING SICK:
* Make sure you and your children get plenty of exercise, sleep and healthy food.
* Keep sick children at home especially if they have a fever above 100F or 38C or have symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting or a severe cough.
* If you or your child gets sick with flu-like illnesses, the CDC recommends that you (or your child) stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care . The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. It is school policy at the German School that all students have to be fever free without medication for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to the school.
* While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
*Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
At the German School, we are committed to trying to limit the spread of disease. Each day the cleaning staff in collaboration with the School Nurse takes steps to prevent the spread of infections in our school. We regularly clean and sanitize frequently touched areas such as door knobs, stair rails, telephones, computer keyboards and bathroom faucets and fixtures. Our cleaning staff has also been instructed to pay special attention to wiping down desks and chairs in the classrooms.
Additionally, we have added hand washing stations at all entrances doors and we are requesting that anyone entering the buildings including teachers, students, parents and visitors wash their hands. Please discuss the importance of hand washing with your children and encourage them to make use of these stations several times a day. If your child does come down with a confirmed case of the flu or any other contagious illness, please notify the Nurse’s Office immediately.
Lately, there has been lots of news coverage about Ebola and I would like to remind all that The CDC continues to remind the public that Ebola poses little risk to the US general population and is not contagious until symptoms appear. It is spread through direct contact with blood or body fluids (such as urine, saliva, sweat and vomit,) of an infected person, or with objects like needles that have been contaminated with the virus. Federal, state and local health officials are closely monitoring the situation and as always, we will follow their guidance should it become an issue in our area. The CDC website has a tremendous amount of information about the viruses and infections mentioned in this letter. Please go to www.cdc.gov and click on “Diseases & Conditions” or enter a keyword in the search box to learn more.
As always if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 301.767.3814 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denise M. Jackson, RN