A Message from Our Nurse

A Message from Our Nurse
From the Nurse imageNovember 2022

Dear District 146 Families:

With the colder weather approaching and higher numbers of communicable illness being reported in our schools the community, this is a reminder to be mindful of the many practices to follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses including influenza, RSV, COVID-19, even the common cold. Here are some helpful tips:
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. When tissue is not immediately available, cough into the bend of your elbow or upper shirt sleeves, not your hands.
  • Wash your hand hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available. Hands should be cleansed upon entry to school, before lunch, after recess and prior to dismissal whenever possible.
  • Avoid hugging and shaking hands and sharing cups, eating utensils, and towels.
  • If you or your child are sick, avoid others as much as possible to keep from infecting others.
  • Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and shared items at home at least once a day.
  • Remind your child not to touch his/her mouth, nose and eyes.
IMPORTANT: Keep your child home if they have symptoms of illness or a fever greater than 100.0 degrees to prevent the spread of illness to others. Please do not give a fever reducer and send your child to school. Once the medicine wears off, the fever will likely return and your child will have exposed their classmates and teachers to their illness. Keep in mind that children with a fever are also at greater risk for picking up other illnesses/viral infections.

Here is some information on respiratory illnesses being reported at school:

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches. Symptoms usually come on suddenly. If you are unsure about these symptoms, contact your doctor early. Anti-viral medication may be prescribed and can shorten the severity and duration of illness. Individuals may be contagious for up to seven days after symptom onset. Annual flu shots are the best way to protect yourself and your child against flu. Upon diagnosis, please ask your doctor to sign a release that includes when your child can safely return to school. 

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild cold-like illness. Symptoms include runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, and/or wheezing. These symptoms usually appear in stages and not all at once. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially infants or older adults. An increasing number of cases are being reported in school-age children. You may be contagious for seven or more days after symptom onset. Upon diagnosis, please ask your doctor to sign a release that includes when your child can safely return to school.

COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-1 virus. Newly identified variants continue to circulate. Symptoms vary but the most common are fever, cough, headache, fatigue, and sore throat. Students with two or more COVID-19 symptoms at school will be sent home. When COVID-19 is suspected, testing is recommended. Individuals who test positive are to stay home for five calendar days after symptom onset (or positive test if asymptomatic) and may return to school on Day 6 if symptoms are improving, including being fever-free (without fever-reducer) for at least 24 hours. Upon return to school, wearing a mask is recommended for the next five calendar days. Please notify your health office if your child is positive for COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for children 6 months and up and COVID-19 boosters are authorized for children 5 years and up.

The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by a virus. Symptoms include stuffy/runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, and cough (sometimes wet or productive that expels phlegm). Colds come on gradually and are usually not serious. If treating symptoms with “cold medicines” at home prior to school, be sure they are the non-drowsy type. Save the “night time” medicines for bedtime.

Thank you for your cooperation as we work together to decrease the spread of illness. If you have questions about any of the above or whether to keep your child home from school, don’t hesitate to email or call me or your school nurse.

Sincerely,

Marian Betley, RN, PEL-CSN
D146 Nurse Coordinator
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