Category Archives: From the School Nurse

From the Zervas Nurse: Flu Facts

Hello Zervas Families,

This year seems to be an extra tough flu season. To help combat this, the Newton Health Department has put together an information sheet, which I share with you below.

Thanks,

Deana Salameh BSN, RN
Zervas Elementary School 

Flu Facts: February School Health Newsletter

Local rates of influenza-like illness (ILI) continue to rise. They’re already higher than in the past few years with weeks of flu season still expected. We understand many families are concerned, so here are a few flu facts to keep you in the loop.

ILI, which is a fever of 100 degrees or more and cough or sore throat, is how disease trackers measure the flu nationwide. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health posts a weekly flu update on their blog most Fridays with the latest information about how ILI rates are looking in the state. http://blog.mass.gov/publichealth/

It remains important for families to keep sick kids at home, in accordance with school policy. Students cannot return to school until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours, without medication like Tylenol, Advil or Motrin. These guidelines are also good common sense for adults in the workplace. The checklist below can help families determine when to stay home and when to return to school or work.

https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/07/xb/flu-symptom-check-list.pdf

The Newton school nurses continue to monitor illness in the schools and are available for any questions or concerns. It may seem elementary, but in conjunction with a flu vaccine, thorough handwashing is the best way to prevent all kinds of illness including the flu.

How to wash your hands:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals.

Flu vaccination for all people age 6 months and older continues to be recommended. It’s not too late get a flu shot. Visit www.newtonma.gov/flu or call 617-796-1420 to find out when the next flu shot opportunity is with the public health nurse at City Hall.

Some information adapted from www.CDC.gov/handwashing and www.mass.gov/dph/flu

From the School Nurse: Flu Update

Dear Zervas families,

We are writing you update you about the flu in our area.

The latest statewide flu report (Jan. 26, Massachusetts Department of Public Health) indicates flu activity is widespread in the state, which is not unexpected for this time of year. However, the rate of influenza-like illness (ILI), is higher than the past two flu seasons. ILI, which is a fever of 100 degrees or more and cough or sore throat, is how disease trackers measure the flu nationwide.

The Newton school nurses continue to monitor illness in the schools and are available for any questions or concerns.

It remains important for families to keep sick kids at home, in accordance with school policy. Students cannot return to school until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours, without medication like Tylenol, Advil or Motrin. The checklist below can help families determine when to stay home and when to return.

https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/07/xb/flu-symptom-check-list.pdf

Flu vaccination for all people age 6 months and older continues to be recommended. It’s not too late get a flu shot. Call 617-796-1420 to make a vaccination appointment with the public health nurse in City Hall.

Newton Health and Human Services Department

From the School Nurse: January Newsletter

As you have probably heard, there is a lot of flu around this year. Both respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses have been circulating in the schools. Remember all of these stay healthy tips:

 Handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of illness.

  • Wash your hands often — when they are dirty, before eating, after using the restroom and after sneezing into a tissue
  • Use soap and warm water and rub your hands together for at least 15 seconds before rinsing and drying.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are ok to use when your hands aren’t visibly dirty

Cough Etiquette

  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands – use a tissue or your elbow

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

Stay away from people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick

If your child unfortunately does get sick, please follow the illness policy of the Newton Public Schools. You must keep a child at home if s/he has:

  • a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the past 24 hours (or has taken a fever reducing medication within the past 24 hours)
  • a cold in the active stages: coughing, running nose, sneezing
  • a sore throat and/or swollen neck glands
  • an undiagnosed rash or skin eruption
  • vomiting or diarrhea during the past 24 hours
  • head lice that has not been treated

If you are uncertain if your child should come to school, please contact the school nurse. Additionally, it is helpful if you report illness to the school when keeping your child home. Nurses monitor illness patterns throughout the school district.

Deana Salameh, RN               (617) -559-6755

November is National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month

On January 19, 2003, Jordan Weiss, a fourth grade student at Mason-Rice School in Newton, Massachusetts passed away in his sleep from complications of undiagnosed diabetes.

To honor Jordan’s memory, the JBW Fund was established by his family, friends and community to foster awareness and education of the warning signs of diabetes.  Sometimes the signs are obvious and sometimes the signs are subtle, limited and attributed to another illness.  The latter was the case for Jordan.

Become familiar with the warning signs of diabetes

Knowledge is an important weapon against this disease and its complications.

Warning Signs of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes:

These symptoms can occur suddenly and must receive immediate medical attention.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination, sometimes exhibited by bedwetting (in large quantities)
  • Blurry vision
  • Sugar in the urine
  • Sweet, fruity odor on breath
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness, lethargy
  • Irritability and mood changes
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Confusion, Stupor, Unconsciousness

Type 2 Diabetes:

These symptoms occur gradually and must receive immediate medical attention.

  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the legs, feet or fingers
  • Darker patches of skin usually in neck folds
  • Drowsiness
  • Slow healing sores or frequent infections
  • Any of the symptoms listed under Type 1 diabetes

Many of these symptoms can be related to illnesses that are not associated with diabetes. This should be discussed with a health care provider.

For more information, talk to your school nurse or visit:

www.cdc.gov/diabetes or www.jdrf.org

Deana Salameh BSN, RN

Zervas Elementary School

(617) 559-6755

Fax (617) 552-5546

deana_salameh@newton.k12.ma.us

School Health Newsletter

Communicating with the School Nurse

In order for the school nurse to be as well prepared as possible to care for students coming to the health room, it is helpful to have the “big picture” perspective for each child. Parents and guardians should know they have an open invitation to communicate with the school nurse both about physical changes such as significant illness, hospitalization, injury, and medication (even if not taken at school), and about social and emotional changes.

Examples include changes in the family structure such as a new sibling, parental separation, illness/death in the family or a parent traveling. It is also helpful for the nurse to know if a student is having trouble adjusting to school or if a parent is concerned about bullying or classroom issues.

The goal for the school nurse is to keep students in school whenever possible. This “big
picture” kind of information, along with phone calls for parent consultation, is helpful to
achieve this goal.

Additional tips for communicating with the school nurse:

  • For urgent or time-sensitive matters, please call. Occasionally there is a substitute nurse who cannot access the email of the regular school nurse.
  • Parents should drop off medication directly to the school nurse instead of sending it with the student.
  • Keep contact information such as cell phone and work phone numbers updated.

Let’s keep in touch to meet the needs of your child.
To reach the Zervas School Nurse, Deana Salameh, please call her at 617-559- 6866 or email her at deana_salameh@newton.k12.ma.us

From the School Nurse

This month I will be starting hearing and vision screenings, beginning with the kindergartners. If anyone would prefer their child not be screened, please let me know. Also, I would like to remind families that the Zervas Flu Clinic will be held Thursday October 19, and the last day to bring in forms is Tuesday October 17.

Summer Reminders from the School Nurse

Medication Pick-up: Parents of students who have medication stored in the health room should pick it up by the last day of school, June 23. All medication (pills, epi-pens, inhalers, etc.) not picked up will be discarded. Please plan ahead to pick medication up so it is not wasted! Medication may not be carried home by the student — it must be picked up by an adult. School nurses will not be available after June 23 to return medication to families.

Medication Order Reminder: All medication orders expire at the end of the school year. If you are visiting your child’s health care provider during the summer, consider requesting a new medication order for your child. All medication, prescription or over-the-counter, requires an order. The Medication Permission Form and the Medication Policy are both available online at  www.newtonma.gov/schoolhealth

West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease Prevention: Mosquito and tick-borne diseases like West Nile Virus and Lyme disease occur in Newton residents. Take steps to avoid getting sick!

  • Mosquito repellant not only works for mosquitoes, but helps repel ticks as well. Use a repellant with DEET, and follow label instructions for concentrations appropriate for children.
  • Avoid being outdoors during peak mosquito hours, particularly once West Nile Virus has been detected in the mosquito population.
  • Remove containers around your home (tires, kid pools, pots, tarps) that could allow mosquitoes to breed.
  • Check your body for ticks after being outdoors and remove them immediately to avoid disease transmission.

Shoo the flu! Seasonal influenza vaccine will be offered this fall during the school day to students and employees. The flu shot (no FluMist again this year, based on current recommendations) will be available to all students in Kindergarten through grade 12, by parental consent only. Consent and screening forms will be posted at www.newtonma.gov/flu by early September, in preparation for the fall clinics. Insurance information will be requested, but all students are welcome to receive the vaccine at no charge.

The flu clinic date for Zervas School will be Thursday October 19th, 2017. Forms (available in Sept.) will be due to the school nurse by Tuesday 10/17. This schedule is confirmed unless the flu vaccine supply is delayed, in which case the school nurse will notify families of an alternative date once the vaccine arrives.

Have a happy and healthy summer!

January 2017 School Health Newsletter

Coughing, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea, oh my!

Winter illness is abounding, as is often the case during the colder months.

Here are some Stay Healthy Tips:

 Handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of illness.

  • Wash your hands often — when they are dirty, before eating, after using the restroom and after sneezing into a tissue
  • Use soap and warm water and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds before rinsing and drying.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are ok to use when your hands aren’t visibly dirty, but hand washing is preferable
  • Make it fun with kids – sing a song and model thoroughly soaping up!
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea — “the stomach bug” – are often transmitted via a fecal/oral route, meaning virus is shed in the stool, gets on hands, and then enters the body through the mouth. Thorough hand washing after using the bathroom helps prevent this type of illness.

 Cough Etiquette

  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands – use a tissue or your elbow

Preferred Practices

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Stay away from people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

If your child unfortunately does get sick, please follow the illness policy. A student will be excluded from school if he/she has:

  • A fever of 100° or greater in the past 24 hours
  • A communicable disease diagnosis
  • A cold in the active stages – coughing, sneezing, nasal drainage
  • A sore throat and/or swollen neck glands
  • Vomiting or diarrhea in the past 24 hours
  • Acute pain that requires relief by narcotic medication
  • An undiagnosed rash or skin eruption

Nurses monitor illness patterns so please contact the school nurse:

  • If you are uncertain if your child should come to school
  • To report illness when keeping your child home

Adapted from cdc.gov/handwashing

Diabetes Awareness

On January 19, 2003, Jordan Weiss, a fourth grade student at Mason-Rice School in Newton, Massachusetts passed away in his sleep from complications of undiagnosed diabetes.

To honor Jordan’s memory, the JBW Fund was established by his family, friends and community to foster awareness and education of the warning signs of diabetes. Sometimes the signs are obvious and sometimes the signs are subtle, limited and attributed to another illness. The latter was the case for Jordan.

Become familiar with the warning signs of diabetes

Knowledge is an important weapon against this disease and its complications.

Warning Signs of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes:

These symptoms can occur suddenly and must receive immediate medical attention.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination, sometimes exhibited by bedwetting (in large quantities)
  • Blurry vision
  • Sugar in the urine
  • Sweet, fruity odor on breath
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness, lethargy
  • Irritability and mood changes
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Confusion, Stupor, Unconsciousness

Type 2 Diabetes:

These symptoms occur gradually and must receive immediate medical attention.

  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the legs, feet or fingers
  • Darker patches of skin usually in neck folds
  • Drowsiness
  • Slow healing sores or frequent infections
  • Any of the symptoms listed under Type 1 diabetes

Many of these symptoms can be related to illnesses that are not associated with diabetes. This should be discussed with a health care provider.

For more information, talk to your school nurse or visit:

www.cdc.gov/diabetes or www.jdrf.org

Halloween Safety

With witches, goblins and super-heroes descending on neighborhoods this month, it’s important to remember a few safety tips to keep Halloween fun and safe for everyone.

  • Walk, slither, and sneak on sidewalks, not on the street or around parked cars
  • Look both ways before crossing the street to check for cars, trucks and low-flying brooms
  • Carry a flashlight to light your way
  • Adults or responsible teenagers should accompany trick-or-treaters
  • Save the candy eating for home when an adult can look through the treats
  • Throw away opened candy and be cautious of small, hard candy with young children
  • Keep the capes & other costume parts away from candles and feet that might trip
  • Use face paint rather than masks that can limit vision
  • Go only to houses with the lights on

Adapted from the American Red Cross

Deana Salameh BSN, RN

Zervas Elementary School

(617) 559-6755

Fax (617) 552-5546

deana_salameh@newton.k12.ma.us