Category Archives: From the School Nurse

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

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 24. 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 a parent. 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 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 http://newtonma.gov/gov/health/school.asp

Physical Exam Before 6th Grade: All newly graduated 5th graders going to the 6th grade need to get an updated Physical Exam. This exam may be brought to the Zervas School Nurse before the end of this school year, or given to the Middle School Nurse in the fall.

West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease Prevention: Newton residents were diagnosed with both Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus last year. 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. Both the flu shot and the nasal spray flu vaccine 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 mid-September, in preparation for the October/November clinics. Insurance information will be requested, but all students are welcome to receive the vaccine at no charge.

The flu clinic date for Zervas Elementary School will be Thursday 10/1/15. Forms (available mid-Sept.) will be due to the school nurse by Monday 9/28/15. 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!

 

April Newsletter: Mosquito and Tick Repellents

It may be hard to think about mosquito and tick repellents while the snow’s still melting, but bug season will be upon us before we know it. Often parents have questions about what repellents are good to use in order to prevent diseases caused by ticks and mosquitoes such as Lyme disease and West Nile Virus.

Repellents are applied to skin, clothing or other surfaces to discourage mosquitoes and ticks from landing or crawling on that surface. Use them when you’re going to be outdoors.

Different products work against different bugs. It is important to look at the “active ingredient” on the product label. Products with DEET or permethrin are recommended for protection against ticks. In addition to DEET and permethrin, products that contain IR3535 or picaridin provide protection against mosquitoes. Also, oil of lemon eucalyptus has been found to provide as much protection as low concentrations of DEET when tested against mosquitoes found in the United States. However, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus have not been shown to work against ticks.

DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age. Children older than two months should use products with DEET concentrations of 30 percent or less. DEET products are available in formulations up to 100 percent DEET, so always read the product label to determine the percentage of DEET included. For mosquitoes, products with DEET concentrations higher than 30 percent do not provide much additional protection, but do last longer. The length of protection against mosquitoes varies widely depending on temperature, perspiration and water exposure. There is limited information available on how well and how long different concentrations of DEET work against ticks.

Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin. Follow product instructions carefully.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under the age of three years.

A number of plant-derived or “natural” products are available for use as mosquito repellents. Limited information is available regarding how well most of these products work and how safe they are. The information that is available shows that most of these products generally do not provide the same level or duration or protection as products like DEET or permethrin, except for oil of lemon eucalyptus  and IR3535, which have been found to provide as much protection as low concentrations of DEET.

Here are a few tips for using repellents safely:

  • Follow instructions given on the product label.
  • Don’t use repellents under clothing
  • Don’t use repellents on cuts or irritated skin
  • Don’t use repellents near the mouth or eyes and use them sparingly around the ears. When using spray products, spray the products onto your hands first, and then apply it to your face.
  • Use just enough product to lightly cover exposed skin and/or clothing. Putting on a larger amount does not make the product work any better.
  • Don’t let children handle the product. When using repellents on children, put some on your hands first, and then apply it to the child. Don’t put repellents on a child’s hands.
  • When you come inside, wash your skin and the clothes that had repellent on them.
  • If you develop a rash or other symptoms you think were caused by using a repellent, stop using the product, wash the affected area with soap and water, and contact your doctor or local poison control center. If you go to the doctor, bring the product with you to show him or her.

 

Adapted from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Mosquito Repellents and Tick Repellents Fact Sheets. For more information, ask the School Nurse or visit www.mass.gov/dph/tick or www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito

Health Room News

Zervas School Nurse Deana Salameh will be doing Hearing and Vision Screenings for Grades 2 and 3 in January.

Health Room Updates

Dear Zervas Families,

I have a couple of updates from the Health Room:

I will be doing first and second grade hearing and vision screenings this month.
There are two flu vaccination clinics being held at City Hall.
They’re both after school times for families/staff still in need of vaccine.
Details posted at www.newtonma.gov/flu

Deana Salameh BSN, RN
Zervas Elementary School

(617) 559-6755
Fax (617) 552-5546

deana_salameh@newton.k12.ma.us

*PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT SPECIFIC EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE WILL NOT BE ACCESSIBLE BY ANY SUBSTITUTE NURSE IN THE HEALTH OFFICE. IF SOMETHING IS IMPORTANT OR TIME SENSITIVE, PLEASE FOLLOW UP WITH A PHONE CALL.