• Facts about Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
    From the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) is an infection caused by Avian Flu viruses. Wild birds carry the viruses in their intestines and usually do not get sick from them. The virus is very contagious and can make some domesticated birds very sick and kill them. All know subtypes of flu A viruses can be found in birds. It is likely that some genetic parts of current human influenza A viruses came from birds originally. Influenza A viruses are constantly changing and they might adapt over time to infect and spread among humans. Susceptible birds become infected when they have contact with contaminated excretions or surface that is contaminated with excretions. It is believed that most cares of bird flu infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. The spread of Bird Flu from one ill person has been reported very rarely and has not been observed to continue beyond one person. However, because all influenza viruses have the ability to change, there is concern that the virus one day could be able to infect humans and spread easily from one person to another. The strain of H5N1 virus found in Asia and Europe has not been found in the United States and the risk is low. Travelers to countries with known outbreaks are advised to avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surface that appears to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. The CDC is not recommending any travel restrictions to affected countries at this time. Symptoms of bird flu in humans have ranged from typical flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, sever respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress), and other severe and life threatening complications. Currently there is no commercially available vaccine to protect humans against the H5N1 virus that is being seen in Asia and Europe. However, vaccine development efforts are taking place.
  • Dealing with Head Lice
    Now that school has started, it is a good time to review guidelines for prevention and treatment of head lice. A head lice infestation is uncomfortable, disruptive, and costly. Parents, children and schools as well, much prefer to prevent rather than needing to treat. Lice are most commonly spread directly by head-to-head contact and indirectly through contaminated clothing or belongings. Teach your child to avoid activities that are likely to spread lice. These include: · Avoid head-to head contact common during play, sports, slumber parties, etc. · Do not share clothing, such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms or hair ribbons. · Do not share combs, brushes or towels. · Stay away from beds, furniture, pillows, carpets and stuffed animals have been cleaned if they have been in contact with a person who has head-lice. When treating a person who has head lice follow these treatment steps: · Apply medication according to label instructions. If your child has extra long hair, you may need to use a second bottle. · Have the infested person put on clean clothing after treatment. · If a few live lice are found 8-12 hours after treatment, but are moving more slowly than before, do not retreat. Comb dead and remaining live lice out of the hair. The medicine may take longer to kill lice. · If, after 8-12 hours of treatment, no dead lice are found and lice seem as active as before m the medicine may not be working. See your health care provider for a different medication; follow treatment directions. · Nit (lice egg) combs found in lice medicine packages, should be used to comb nits and lice from the hair shaft. The only way to be absolutely sure there are no live lice on the head is to remove all the nits, then see if any new nits appear. If new nits do appear you can be sure there is a louse on the head laying them. You are not clear of head lice until you have had no new nits on the head for ten consecutive days. · After treatment, continue to check hair and comb with a nit comb every two to three days to remove any remaining nits and lice. Continue to check for two to three weeks until you are sure all lice and nits are gone. Head Lice do not survive long if they fall off a person; however, to eliminate any that have just fallen off, follow these steps: · To kill lice and nits, machine wash all washable clothing and bed linens with which the infested person came in contact during the 2 days prior to receiving treatment. Use hot water. Dry laundry using high heat. · Dry clean clothing that is not washable. · Clothing that needs to be dry-cleaned can also be stored in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks. Sealing in a plastic bag for two weeks can also treat items such as stuffed animals, pillows and comforters. · Soak combs and brushes in alcohol or Lysol for at least an hour. Very hot soapy water can also be used. · Vacuum the floor and furniture. Do not use lice sprays. They can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Although anyone living with an infested person can get head lice, no one should be treated as a preventative measure if they do not have lice. Check everyone in the home every two to three days and treat only if crawling lice or nits (eggs) within ¼ inch of the scalp are found. The safety of head lice medication has not been tested in children 2 years of age or younger. Crawling lice and nits should be removed by hand. The child should be checked daily. Head lice are common in school-aged children and children who attend daycare centers. All socioeconomic groups are susceptible to becoming infested. The presence of infestation does not indicate that the individual is unclean. In order to control the spread of head lice it is very important that parents and schools work together.
  • When should you keep your child home from school?
    The following is to be used as a guideline for keeping an ill child at home. If you have specific questions, contact your child’s physician or call the school nurse. 1. Colds - What seems like a mild cold with symptoms such as a runny nose may be allergies. If your child does not have a fever, severe cough or earache, don’t keep your child home from school. Any child who has a fever should always stay at home. 2. Fever – Any child who has had a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, should state at home until the child is without fever for 24 hours. If the fever is accompanied by a sore throat, earache, nausea, listlessness or rash, the child may be contagious. 3. Diarrhea or Vomiting – Children need to stay home if either occurred during the previous night. 4. Strep Throat or Scarlet Fever – Both are highly contagious. children with either, require antibiotics. After beginning treatment, your child is allowed to return to school with a written doctor’s permission. It is important that the entire prescription be completed as ordered by the physician. 5. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) – This can be highly contagious depending on the cause. Your child may return to school after beginning treatment and with written permission from the physician. Chicken Pox – This is a very contagious disease. The disease is Infectious from 24 hours before the appearance of the rash until all the lesions are crusted, which usually occurs 1 week after the onset of the rash. Children should not return to school until all lesions are crusted. 6. Lice – Do not send your child to school if you know that he or she has head lice. If your child is sent home because of head lice, an appropriate lice treatment must be used and nits (eggs) are to be removed. Your child’s clothing and your home must also be treated in order to prevent re-infestation. The school nurse must check your child before he or she returns to class. Remain with your child until the check has been completed. If you have questions about treatment, please contact the school nurse. It is important that we all work together to make our school a healthy and pleasant environment for all of our children.