Wildcat Health News
Roy Waldron School
Andrea Hutton, MS, RN
My name is Andrea Hutton and I am the school nurse for RWS. This is my second year at Roy Waldron School, but have been a nurse for several years. I have experience in multiple areas such as intensive care, trauma, cardiac rehabilitation and wound care.
When to Keep Your Child Home From School
The purpose of keeping a sick child home from school is:
ü To avoid transmission of the illness to others
ü To allow for optimal comfort and rest for the child
ü To provide any treatments that cannot be administered at school
The following are some guidelines you may use when deciding whether to keep your child home or to send him to school. If you are unsure, call your child’s healthcare provider.
Fever is generally defined as a core body temperature of 100.4 F or greater (not 104.) Oral, tympanic membrane (ear), axillary (armpit), or temporal artery (forehead) methods for taking temperature are typically used for school-aged children. A reading of 100 F or more with any of these techniques qualifies as fever.
Your child should be without fever for a full 24 hours before returning to school. This is because sick children often do not develop fever until the afternoon or evening. If your child has fever, do not give a fever-reducing medication (Tylenol, Advil, etc.) then send him to school.
If your child vomits in the morning, observe him for at least 1 hour before sending him to school. If he has no further episodes and is able to eat a light meal, he may go to school. If he has a second episode, keep him home.
A child with one episode of mild diarrhea may be able to go to school, but if he needs to go to the toilet more frequently than usual due to loose stools, he should stay home. Vomiting and diarrheal illnesses are extremely contagious, so make sure he washes his hands with soap and water after toileting and before eating.
Most sore throats occur due to a mild viral illness and will self-resolve. If a child has no fever and does not feel otherwise ill, he may attend school. If the sore throat is accompanied by other symptoms such as headache, stomachache, and/or rash, he should see his healthcare provider to rule out strep throat.
Runny Nose or Cough
Most runny noses and coughs are due to mild viral illnesses which will self-resolve. If the child has no fever and feels otherwise well, he may attend school. If your child is sick enough to sleep extra hours during the day due to his symptoms, he should stay home. This typically occurs during the first 2 or 3 days of an illness. If your child is well enough to go to school, send him with tissues and have him wash or use hand sanitizer after using them. If his runny nose or cough lasts longer than 10-14 days or worsens instead of improving, he may need to see his healthcare provider.
Red or Runny Eyes
Bacterial conjunctivitis (“pink eye”) is a contagious infection of the lining of the eyeball and eyelids. Symptoms are redness of the white of the eye, swelling of the eye or eyelids, and discharge which is typically cloudy or yellowish-green. If your child wakes up with his eyelids “glued together” with discharge, call your doctor and keep your child home. If there is a little clear discharge and little to no redness, this is not likely a contagious conjunctivitis. Careful hand washing is essential with bacterial conjunctivitis.
Chickenpox is not common now that the vaccine is widely used. It can be found anywhere on the body and looks like a small blister on a red base (“a dewdrop on a rose petal”). It is typically itchy and usually accompanied by fever. A healthcare provider should see your child if you suspect chickenpox. It is contagious beginning 1-2 days before the rash appears, and lasting until all the lesions have fully crusted (no more blisters).
Scabies is a common, very itchy rash caused by a mite burrowing under the skin surface. Small bumps or raised lines are visible on the forearms and hands, and on the trunk and groin area. Often other family members have it as well. Your healthcare provider should see your child if you suspect scabies.
Impetigo is a contagious superficial skin infection which looks like a crusty yellowish scab or sometimes a large blister. It can be seen anywhere on the skin, but is often found around the nostrils and lips. Your healthcare provider should see your child if you suspect impetigo.
Staph Infections are commonly seen in school-aged children. Usually it manifests as a pink or red, firm, very sore area. It may or may not have a “head” on it. Your child’s healthcare provider should see your child if you suspect a staph infection.
Fifth’s Disease is a common viral rash which causes bright red cheeks (“slapped cheek disease”), followed by a pink, flat, lacy-appearing rash on the upper arms and tops of the thighs. Most children feel well with it, and once they develop the rash, they are no longer contagious. They may attend school.
Does My Child Need To See a Healthcare Provider?
Most illnesses may be safely managed at home with rest, fluids, good nutrition, and symptom-reducing medications if needed. It is impossible to list every condition for which a child should see a healthcare provider, but it is better to err on the side of caution. Call your healthcare provider if you are unsure how to manage your child’s illness. The following are conditions for which a child should definitely be seen by a healthcare provider:
- Fever for more than 4 days.
- Fever occurring later in an illness. If a child has had symptoms such as cough and runny nose and then develops fever several days into the illness, a secondary infection may be developing.
- Very poor appetite for more than a day.
- Increased effort with breathing.
- Severe headache or neck stiffness.
- Lethargy such that the child doesn’t want to play even a little bit sometime during the day.
- Any of the conditions listed in the preceding symptom section.
- Please call your school nurse with any questions or concerns.
Healthy children learn better.
Rutherford County School Nurses
What You Need to Know About Lice
Head lice are small insects that live mainly on the scalp and neck hairs of humans.
· They have been around for centuries and have even been recovered from prehistoric mummies.
· Their presence does notindicate unsanitary living conditions or poor hygiene.
· Head lice are mainly spread by direct head-to-head contact with an infested person's hair.
· Lice cannot fly or jump.
· Lice and their eggs (called nits) do not burrow into the scalp.
· Head lice live by feeding on blood several times a day.
· They only live on human beings and never on other kinds of animals.
· Head lice do not spread infections and are not considered to be a medical or a public health problem.
· The risk of transmission between students is far lower for head lice than for infections due to cold or flu viruses.
· There is no evidence that excluding students from school reduces the transmission of lice.
· The female louse lays about six eggs each day during her one month life-span.
· An egg hatches about 8 days after being laid, but not all eggs will hatch.
· A louse that falls from a person’s hair will rapidly starve and become dehydrated, typically dying in less than one day.
· There is little, if any, reason for extensive cleaning of the home or bagging clothing, toys or other items.
· Insecticides to treat the home, school, vehicles, carpets and furniture are unwarranted, and unnecessarily expose occupants to insecticidal residues.
· The use of any product to repel lice is unnecessary and may be ineffective or unsafe, or both.
· Most infestations of head lice begin without out any symptoms, become noticeable (due to itching) after a few weeks, but then become almost ‘silent’ again after another month or two.
· Any head lice or nits that might detach from the hair in a swimming pool would be removed by the pool filter or die before they have a chance to contact a person.
(references: Richard J. Pollack, PhD, entomologist;www.identifyus.com)
Mobile Health Unit
MOBILE HEALTH OUTREACH
Ministry in Motion, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital’s Mobile Health Unit, is a reflection of our Mission which calls us to improve the health of individuals and communities with special attention to the poor and vulnerable. This Ministry is a core strategic commitment within our annual Care of Persons Living in Poverty and Community Benefit Plan. Our goal is to help achieve access to health care, helping individuals overcome barriers and obstacles. Saint Thomas Rutherford, as a faith-based health care institution, is motivated by the principles of Human Dignity and Common Good.
Ministry in Motion is in service 4 – 5 days each week. We are happy to answer questions at any time.