Health Office Info
FIRST AID AND EMERGENCIES
The school nurse is available for first aid and health emergencies as they arise during the school
day. Minor scrapes and bumps are treated and your child is usually returned to class. If the injury
needs your attention and observation when your child goes home, you will usually receive a note or
phone call. If the injury requires immediate medical attention, you will be called. Please be sure you
keep the information on the emergency forms up-to-date so that we can reach you or another
Head lice are a fact of life in schools every year. Some years there are a few cases, other years
we see more. These tiny parasites are a nuisance, but do not carry diseases. The most important and
time consuming part of the treatment is to remove the nits (eggs) that are attached to the hair. This will
help prevent your child from becoming re-infested. If you discover head lice on your child please
notify the school nurse. Once treated, bring your child to school to see the nurse and be checked
before returning to class. Please don’t hesitate to call your school nurse with questions about head
lice and their treatment.
Each year various grades are screened for height, weight, vision and hearing and scoliosis.
Refer to the screening section on this website about which screenings are performed at your child’s
grade level. Any child who fails the vision or hearing the first time around is rescreened. If they fail
the rescreening, a referral will sent to the parent/guardian for further medical evaluation.
Screenings are a useful tool for finding potential health problems that might interfere with
learning. As with any testing there can be false negatives and false positives. Hopefully, by
rescreening, they can be weeded out. However, occasionally a child will screen poorly at school and
do fine in the doctor's office. Conversely, sometimes children will pass a screening at school only to
show up with a problem shortly afterwards. If your child passes the screenings at school, but you still
feel there may be a problem with his/her vision or hearing, don’t hesitate to consult their pediatrician
and seek further testing. School screenings don’t test for every potential hearing or vision problem.
Children need to feel well to learn. While every cold, ache and cough shouldn’t keep your
child home, sometimes being in school is not wise.
If your child is running a fever (100 or above), has diarrhea, vomiting or an unexplained rash
they should not come to school that day. They must be fever free, without medication, for 24 hours
before returning to school. A frequent cough can be exhausting for your child and a distraction to the
whole class. Your common sense will guide you.
Children sometime have vague complaints in the morning before school, but don’t seem to be
ill at the time. Please give the health office a quick call or send a note if you think that your child will
probably be coming to see the nurse. It helps to know if you wish to be called immediately or if you
wish them to remain in school unless fever or obvious signs of illness are present. The child who is
told to “go see the school nurse and she will call me to get you” is almost always in the health room
within minutes of school arrival insisting that you want to be called to take them home NOW! It is
almost impossible to convince the student to try class and see if they feel better. Like a lot of us,
children often hear what they want to hear and they heard “going home”. Please remember that your
child can not be dismissed with anyone that is not on the emergency form without your permission.
Please let us know if phone numbers change for you or anyone on the emergency list.
All Massachusetts school children are required to have certain immunizations in order to attend
school. For a listing of those immunizations click on www.mass.gov/dph/imm. Children may be
exempt from immunizations for medical or religious reasons. If medical, documentation is needed
from your child’s physician. If religious, the parent/guardian must write a letter to the school stating
this exemption. Children who are not fully immunized may be excluded from school, from day 10
through day 21 following exposure, if there is an outbreak of disease, (i.e. pertussis (whooping cough).
Please remember that it is the parent/guardian responsibility to obtain the necessary
immunizations and supply the dates to the school. Failure to comply with this law can result in your
child being excluded from school until all requirements are met.
Influenza or Flu is a respiratory infection that causes illness from October through May. The
usual peak is in January or February. This year it has been peaking earlier and more frequently with
cases documented in all 50 states.
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months unless you have a
specific medical contraindication. It is a combination of 3 flu viruses that research show will be most
common for the upcoming season. Reports indicate that next year’s vaccine will have four. On
occasion another flu strain will show up that is not predicted or part of the vaccine causing the illness
even in those people who were vaccinated.
Symptoms of the flu can include: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, runny/stuffy nose,
headache, chills and tiredness. Some people have vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms are
generally more severe than with the common cold. Seek immediate medical care if there is trouble
breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, trouble waking up, confusion, chest pain or
symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worse cough.
If you or a family member gets the flu, stay home from work/school until there is no longer a
fever (100 degrees or more) for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. As always,
good hand washing and covering your cough helps to prevent the spread of the illness. Routine
cleaning of surfaces with your regular cleaning products is sufficient.
Good websites about the flu are www.FluFACTS.com which has an informative coloring book
A common, contagious skin infection caused by either the strep or staph bacteria. It
shows as small, red pimples or fluid-filled blisters that ooze honey-colored liquid with crusted yellow
scabs. It is often seen on the face (around the nose and mouth), but can be anywhere on the body. The
student needs to be evaluated by their physician and be on antibiotics for 24 hours before they can
return to school.
Some students need medication during the school day. Here are some guidelines to keep your
- If your child will take medication daily, or on an as-needed basis throughout the school year (i.e. inhaler), a parent permission form and a physician permission form must be on file for each medication.
- If your child is on a medication for 10 days or less (i.e. antibiotic), only a parent
permission form is needed.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications usually just require a parent permission form.
- Cough drops, throat lozenges-require a note from parent
- All prescription medications must be in original container and properly labeled with your child’s name. All OTC medications must be in original packaging and must be labeled as appropriate for age. Ask your pharmacist for an extra labeled bottle if medication must come into school.
- All medications must be brought to the health office by an adult. Students are not
allowed to transport medications to/from home.
- Certain emergency medications can be carried by the student with specific permission from physician, parent and school nurse. Examples are EpiPens, inhalers and insulin pumps.
- No herbal medications or vitamins are given at school.
Permission forms can be found on our website or obtained at school.
PINK EYE (CONJUNCTIVITIS)
This is an inflammation of the tissue covering the white part of the eye and the inside of
the eyelid. There are several types that are usually seen at school. Bacterial-causing red, itchy and
painful eyes with green or yellow discharge. The eyes may be crusted shut in the morning. Viralcausing
pink, swollen, watery eyes-often sensitive to light. Allergic-causing itching, redness and
tearing. If it is bacterial conjunctivitis, the student needs to be seen by their physician and treated. The
student may return to school after being on drops/ointment for 24 hours. Viral and allergic
conjunctivitis may remain in school.
PROCEDURES AND CARE PLANS
Children often need specialized procedures done in school related to an illness or condition. A
child with asthma may need a nebulizer treatment, while a child with diabetes will need their blood
glucose checked on a regular basis. Tube feedings, suctioning and catheterizations are just some of the
procedures that are done in schools.
Because of this, many children are able to attend school that could not do so in the past. If your
child needs a specialized procedure, either temporary or permanent, contact me. Together, with your
child’s teacher, we can develop an Individualized Health Care Plan that will address and meet your
child’s health needs during the school day.
The Health Office is also available for staff members. Flu immunization clinics, blood pressure
checks, information on medications, illness, injury and other health related issues are some of the uses.
Remember, adults need to keep current with immunizations. Click on www.cdc.gov/vaccines
to see a list of adult immunization recommendations.