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From the Nurse

HEALTH SCREENINGS

Every year, between fall and early winter, health screenings are conducted for all children in kin-dergarten through fourth grade. We check height, weight, vision and hearing. If your child fails vision or hearing during the initial screening, they are re-screened at a later date. If they fail the re-screening, you will be sent the results in a referral letter for further evaluation by their pedia-trician or a specialist. This referral should be followed up, but don’t be alarmed. Not every vision referral means glasses and not every hearing referral means hearing loss. Some children fail due to not fully under-standing the directions, shyness, wax in ears, etc. On the opposite side, some children pass the screenings, but may have vision/hearing issues that you have concerns or questions about. It may be something the screenings don’t test for. If you have concerns, don’t hesitate to voice them and refer to their physician.

FIFTH’S DISEASE

This is a common viral illness that causes a low-grade fever and a distinctive rash. The child may feel tired, have muscles aches and headache. The rash appears after the fever is gone and causes bright, red cheeks and a faint, lacy rash on the trunk, arms and legs. By the time the rash appears, the child is no longer contagious and does not need to stay home from school as long as they are feeling well and don’t have a fever. If the illness is suspected in the pre-rash stage, the child should not attend school. Pregnant women who have con-tact with children in group settings should consult with their health professionals about their immune status and potential risk. Parents of children with a chronic illness that affects their immune system should consult with their child’s doctor.

HEAD LICE

Head lice are small, wingless insects that live on the scalp. They are a nui-sance, but have not proven to carry or transmit any disease. They are passed from person to person by close head to head contact. Also, they can be spread by sharing hats, brushes, etc. They can’t fly, hop or jump. They don’t live on pets. They need human blood to survive.

It is important for parents to routinely check their children’s head for evidence of head lice. If you find that your child has head lice, please let me know and bring your child to the health office to be checked after treatment. If I find your child has head lice while at school, you will be notified. Classroom checks and notes home to the whole class are not done. Remember, schools don’t get lice and homes don’t get lice— people do. Usually, a student should not miss more than 1 day of school to be treated.

Different treatments are available. The chemical shampoos should not be used “just in case” a child or fami-ly member has lice OR in an effort to prevent them. They are only for definite evidence of head lice. Please don’t use any of the chemical sprays. They are unnecessary and potentially pose personal and environmental hazards to people and pets. Vacuuming is safe and effective, as well as washing bedding and recently worn clothing. Lice will die within 24 hours of being off a human head. Put your efforts into removing the live lice and the nits (eggs), in order to prevent the nits from hatching and starting the cycle over again.

Please feel free to call the health office at anytime, if you have any questions or concerns at 508-563-2334 ext.7304, Pam Coakley.