HEALTH OFFICE INFORMATION
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 designated adult.
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.
FIRST AID AND EMERGENCIES
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 yearly. 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.
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
Are You a Flu Fighter? that can be downloaded for kids, and
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.
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.
This is a throat infection caused by the streptococcus bacteria. Students can have a sore throat,
fever, stomachache, headache, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and decreased appetite. Some
children have a foul breath odor. And some develop scarlet fever which is a fine red rash that makes
the skin feel like sandpaper. School age children will often complain of a stomachache or headache
before the sore throat. They need to be tested at the pediatrician, if positive, be on antibiotics for 24
hours before returning to school.
School age children can typically have 8-12 colds per year. It is a viral infection of the nose,
throat and ears. Children may have any or all of these symptoms: cough, scratchy throat, runny nose,
sneezing, watery eyes, fever, headache and earache. There is no reason to keep a child home that has a
cold unless they have a fever and/or feel too miserable to participate. Remember, children usually
spread the virus before they have any symptoms. This is a great time to teach/reinforce good health
habits with your child such as covering your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, as well as
good hand washing.