Strep Throat Should your child present with any of the signs of streptococcal infection (strep throat), it is advisable to see your health care provider for a quick, simple throat culture. The symptoms are sore throat, fever, abdominal pain, headache, pain or difficulty swallowing, and/or swollen and sore lymph nodes on the side of the neck. Please inform the school nurse if your child has been diagnosed with strep throat. They may return to school 24 hours after starting antibiotic treatment.
Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis or pinkeye, is an inflammation of the eyes most often caused by a virus, bacteria, or allergies. With this inflammation, the white part of the eye becomes pink, and the eyes produce lots of tears and discharge. In the morning, upon waking, discharge may make the eyelids stick together. (Some children and adults have allergies that can cause everything listed here except pus). How do you catch conjunctivitis? The pus is infectious. Children may rub their eyes and pass the infection by touching someone else. Always thoroughly wash your hands after wiping your child's eyes. See your health care provider if your child develops pinkeye. Your child may need to be given an eye medication. Do not send your child to school until the day after you start giving the medicine. Tell us if your child is being treated for pinkeye.
Protecting Yourself During Tick Season Now that the warm weather has finally arrived, it's time to work in the yard and garden, or play outside. It's also time to start checking for ticks. Lyme disease is one of several serious illnesses spread by ticks. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself and your family: - Keep out of tall grass and shrubs. When walking in the woods, stick to main paths or trails. - Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck your pant legs into your socks. Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to see the ticks. - Use insect repellent on your clothing. Make sure to follow the directions for proper use. - Check yourself, your kids, and your pets after you come in from playing or working outside. - Remove ticks carefully as soon as you find them. The sooner you get the tick off, the less time it has to spread disease. - Remove extra brush and leaves from your yard. Keep your lawn mowed. - If you have been bitten by a deer tick, see your foctor ight away! Lyme disease can be treated. For more information, call the Board of Health at 543-1207.
Head Lice - A Nuisance The subject of head lice is not a popular one, but their presence affects millions each year. Despite their negative association, they are present in people from every socioeconomic bracket. Having head lice has nothing to do with cleanliness nor does it reflect on you as a parent. When children come in close contact with each other, it is easy to pass head lice along.Head lice are naturally found in our environment. Shared hats, clothing, brushes, pillows and other personal articles are perfect vehicles to transfer lice from one person to another. We would like to ask your assistance in following these steps to try to prevent their spread to other classmates and family members; Watch for signs of frequent scratching and check your child's head/hair regularly. If you detect lice or nits, follow the treatment below; Please report the case to the appropriate school nurse so that the remaining students in that class may be checked as well as siblings in the school district. Also, your child's head/hair will be checked upon return to school to be sure it is free of lice and nits. Once your child is clear to return to school, he/she will have a weekly follow-up check for up to 4 weeks. How to check for lice: Head lice are small, only about 1/16th of an inch. They are grayish-white with dark edges. While they cannot fly and do not jump, they move quickly. Diagnosis of head lice is generally made when lice eggs (nits) are evident. The nits are teardrop in shape and are 'glued' to the hair shaft. They cannot be washed or brushed out like dandruff. They are more apt to be found behind the ears and at the nape of the neck, although they can be anywhere on the head. Examine your child's head in good light, when you are not in a rush. Treatment: 1.Treat hair with a lice killing product or alternative treatment. Check with your doctor or pharmacist for a specific product to use, and the procedure to remove the nits. 2.Thoroughly comb the hair with a nit removal comb, preferably metal, available at your pharmacy. Removal of nits is important to avoid reinfestation. A rinse that loosens nits is available at your pharmacy to make the job easier. *An alternative treatment would be to completely saturate the hair and scalp with olive oil or 100% real mayonnaise (not low-fat or fat-free) and then wrap the hair and scalp with plastic wrap or cover with a shower cap. The head should remain wrapped for at least 3 hours - preferably overnight. Wash the hair then proceed to remove the lice and nits. 3.Wash all clothing, bed linens, pillows, towels, stuffed animals, coats and hats in hot water and dry on hot cycle for at least 20 minutes. Items that cannot be safely washed should be dry cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for 3 weeks. 4.Clean all combs and brushes in hot, soapy water. Let them soak in hot water for ten minutes. 5.Vacuum everywhere to make sure your home is free of lice (carpets, mattresses, upholstered furniture.) Do a thorough job and discard the vacuum bag promptly. 6.Check all other family members to see if they are infested. If they are, treat them also. 7.Explain to your child that this is very common.While it is a nuisance to treat, the child has done nothing wrong. Hopefully, with time and education, we can eliminate the negative stigma associated with having head lice. Staph Infections or 'MRSA' Antibiotic-resistant staph infections, usually involving the skin, are showing up more often among healthy people. At any time, 25 - 30% of the population is carrying a type of staph bacteria, while about 1% of the population is carrying methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus or 'MRSA'. Most people carry 'staph' on their skin without symptoms or infection, but if it gets into cuts or abrasions of the skin, it may cause skin infections. These infections usually appear as pimples, boils, or abscesses. These infections often contain pus and may feel itchy and warm. Children who become symptomatic should be seen by a health care provider for evaluation. Children with MRSA infection may require exclusion from the school setting when lesions are not able to be adequately covered with a dry dressing. However, if lesions can be covered by a dry dressing or clothing, children do not need to be excluded from school. It is important to understand that MRSA is most frequently spread by direct skin-to-skin contact or with direct contact to wound drainage of someone who is carrying or infected with the bacteria. It is not an "airborne virus". Here are some prevention tips: - Washing hands thoroughly and often with soap and water is the best way to prevent getting and spreading staph, and/or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after direct contact with another person's skin. - Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with a bandage until healed. Wash your hands after caring for the area, and carefully dispose of any bandages. - Avoid contact with other people's wounds or material contaminated by wounds. - Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, washcloths, toothbrushes, razors, soap, ointments, clothing or uniforms. - When contact with body fluids is expected, wear disposable gloves and wash hands after removing them. - Keep your skin healthy, and avoid getting dry, cracked skin, especially during the winter. Healthy skin helps to keep the staph on the surface of your skin from causing an infection underneath your skin. - Contact your doctor if you have a skin infection that does not improve. For further information: check the website of the Mass. Dept. of Public Health; http://www.mass.gov/dph/cdc/antibiotic/mrsa_about.htm