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HEALTH HINTS

Questions regarding health concerns at MIS can be addressed by contacting the school nurse at or at 972-243-7105 x111.


September 16, 2010: Influenza

As the flu season draws near, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges you to take the following steps to protect yourself and others from influenza (the flu): #1 Vaccinate, #2 Stop Germs, #3 Antiviral Drugs. Please take a moment to read up on this subject.
Click here to view a fact sheet for parents on avoiding the flu.

September 9, 2010: Concussions

Each year, U.S. hospital emergency departments treat an estimated 135,000 sports/recreation related traumatic brain injuries — including concussions — among children ages 5 to 18. Many parents link concussions to the sport of football, but a recent study of high school athletes shows this isn’t just a guy thing or just a sports thing: concussions can happen on the playground or even at home after a fall. Children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults, and athletes who have ever had a concussion are at increased risk for another concussion. With sports ramping up again with the new school year, the Diocese would like us all to learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion and what to do if a concussion occurs. Please take a moment to read up on this subject.
Click here to view a fact sheet for parents on Concussions.

  

2009-2010 SCHOOL YEAR HEATH HINTS

September 17, 2009: Influenza-like Symptoms 

Dear Parents,

Since the beginning of this week, we have had an increase in the number of students out with reported "Influenza-like" symptoms and Influenza. The Diocese, in conjunction with the Dallas and Collin County Health Departments has stated the following in regards to the two terms:

"Influenza-like illness: Individual(s) with fever > 100 with sore throat and/or cough. The individual may not have undergone testing, or may have had a negative rapid influenza test.

Influenza: Individual(s) with test-confirmed Influenza. This can be determined by a positive physician's office-based ‘rapid flu test.' These rapid flu tests can not distinguish Novel H1N1 Influenza (also referred to as ‘Swine Flu') from other types of (seasonal flu.)" 

"It should be noted that a ‘confirmed' Novel (2009) H1N1 can only be obtained by special testing at the CDC/Dallas County or other governmental laboratory, and one commercial laboratory (Quest Labs.) A physician is certainly able and qualified to ‘diagnose' H1N1 based on symptoms, however ‘confirmed' can only be obtained in the above, described manner. Flu patients are not routinely tested for H1N1 this fall. If it is a doctor's office rapid test, it is only ‘confirmed' for Influenza. If the physician ‘diagnoses' H1N1, we would still refer to this as Influenza for clarity and consistency within the counties. It is not incorrect and the doctor is not incorrect either."

There have not been any students at MIS yet who have been confirmed by the laboratory test as diagnosed with Novel H1N1 Influenza. There have been seven students at MIS with physician diagnosed Novel H1N1 Influenza...which means that based on a positive rapid flu test and symptoms, these students have been determined by their physician to have Novel H1N1 Influenza. 

Regardless of the type of Influenza - Seasonal or Novel H1N1, the treatment is the same as it is every year during the flu season. Do not send your child to school if they are sick. Symptoms of flu usually include fever, headache, cough, sore throat, body aches and malaise. If your child exhibits flu-like symptoms, we ask that you make an appointment with your child's physician or clinic to have them evaluated and tested for Influenza. Per the guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person with Influenza or Influenza-like illness must be kept at home until they are fever-free for a full 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. We also ask that you keep your child at home until their cough has stopped. Note that upon re-entry into the school, we are required by the Diocese to re-evaluate children who have shown flu-like symptoms (take their temperature and review their symptoms.)

The Dallas County Health Department has requested that on a daily basis we monitor symptoms of all students who are out for some illness - not those who are out for other personal reasons. If you call in to report an absence, please be sure to include all symptoms of the illness in your call and please re-state known symptoms each day that you call in your child's absence. We will keep you informed of any new information as we receive it from the Diocese and the County Health Departments.

Attached is a question and answer sheet that will cover most of your H1N1 concerns. Please contact me if you have any other questions or if you have family members at home whose immune systems are compromised.

Thank you!

Sandy Schluterman, R.N.
MIS School Nurse, 972-243-7105  x111


September 17, 2009: H1N1 Flu Virus Questions and Answers

Should I be concerned about the H1N1 flu virus? Yes. Just as you should be concerned about the seasonal flu or a cold.

Is the H1N1 virus present at Mary Immaculate School? Yes. Just as it is present in every public place: other schools, movie theatres, grocery stores, etc. Just as it is most likely present in your own home as well.

Then why are people so worried about the H1N1 flu virus? Since the H1N1 flu virus is a new type of virus, most people don't have the immunity to fight it. This means that more people could get infected compared to an average year. It is important to remember that the vast majority of Influenza illness, whether seasonal or H1N1, will run a typical course without complications and persons affected will recover within a week or less. Cases publicized in the media spotlight the rare instances where complications from the flu have occurred. 

How contagious is this virus? The H1N1 flu virus spreads like seasonal flu. When infected people cough or sneeze, droplets are released into the air. If other people are close by (within about 6 feet), they may breathe in the droplets...which can lead to infection. People may also get infected by touching droplets on a person's hands or droplets that may have landed on hard surfaces such as door knobs, and then touching their eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

Should my children stay home from school to reduce the risk of being infected with the H1N1 flu virus? No. Children should only stay home if they are feeling sick. Families who have family members with compromised immune systems should call the school nurse to discuss their individual situations.

Should we keep our children home from sleepovers and other social gatherings on the weekends and after school? Common sense comes in handy for this situation: Is there a known illness in the home? Is your child prone to respiratory illness? If so, you may want to re-think the situation. Health officials say children should be kept home only if they are ill.

If a child becomes ill at school, what happens? The child will be separated from his classmates until his parents can pick him up, according to Diocese and federal guidelines. As MIS has no true isolation area, if your child is running a fever over 101*, your child will be asked to wear a surgical mask to help prevent further spread of illness. As this virus can be picked up as easily from going to the mall or a movie as it can from being at school, no notifications will be sent home of grade-confirmed cases at school.

When can a child who has been confirm as ill with the virus return to school?
A person with Influenza or Influenza-like illness must be kept at home until they are fever-free for a full 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. We also ask that you keep your child at home until their cough has stopped.

Will our school be closed if many students, staff members or volunteers have the H1N1 flu? No. The H1N1 flu virus is circulating in our communities; therefore, closing schools is not an effective way to control the spread of the virus. Even when not in school, students may still be at risk of getting the virus by spending time in close proximity in malls or movie theatres. As directed by the Diocese, MIS would be closed only as a last resort if classes could not continue because so many students or staff are absent. School district officials prepared for H1N1 with guidance from county, state and federal health officials. The decision to close our school because of an outbreak would be made by either the Diocese or the county health office.

What are the symptoms of the H1N1 flu virus? The H1N1 flu virus is a respiratory (breathing) illness that causes symptoms similar to those of the regular seasonal flu. They include fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, and muscle aches. Some may also have vomiting and diarrhea.

What are school officials doing to protect children? What can I do to stay healthy and keep my children healthy? As communicated last week through our Health Hints link that was sent via Mustang Mail, at MIS we are being proactive in trying to reduce illness transmission through the following recommendations, and you are urged to do the same at home:

  • Use hand sanitizer or wash hands before going to lunch.
  • Use hand sanitizer or wash hands after coughing, sneezing, and blowing nose.
  • Wash hands with soap after using the bathroom.
  • Use cough and sneeze etiquette by covering nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, or to sneeze or cough into sleeve if a tissue is not available.
  • Students use only pens/pencils/crayons from their own school supply.
  • Stay home with the following symptoms; fever with a sore throat and/or cough, body aches, fatigue.
  • Follow the Diocesan policy and stay home for 7 days after being diagnosed with the H1N1 flu virus.
  • Any students with a fever (temperature 100 degrees or more) may not return to school until fever free without the use of fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours.
  • Everyone receive the seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible.
  • Everyone receive the H1N1 vaccine when available.
  • Students change out of their school uniform upon arrival home to be laundered each day.
  • Students who participate in athletics to launder practice and game clothes after each wearing

Where can parents turn for more information about the virus?
Any parents who are concerned about H1N1 or any virus can call the Nurse's Office (972-243-7105 x111) at any time during the school day.More information can be found at the federal government's website at http://www.flu.gov/.


September 11, 2009: Ways to Reduce Virus Transmissions 

Dear MIS Parents,

Lately, media reports are highlighting the current flu situation.  However, the Center of Disease Control, (CDC), is reporting normal flu activity for this time of the year.

School absences are being tracked daily and reported to the Catholic Schools Office and the county health authority as requested. As directed in the MIS Parent/Student Handbook, absences and symptoms are to be reported to the school by 9:00 a.m. each day of your child's illness.

After consultation with local health authorities, the Catholic Schools Office and Nancy Russell, Principal, a parent letter will be sent when the absence data begins to indicate a high number of absences due to influenza-like illnesses.

At MIS we are being proactive in trying to reduce illness transmission through the following recommendations, and you are urged to do the same at home:

  • Use hand sanitizer or wash hands before going to lunch.
  • Use hand sanitizer or wash hands after coughing, sneezing, and blowing nose.
  • Wash hands with soap after using the bathroom.
  • Use cough and sneeze etiquette by covering nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, or to sneeze or cough into sleeve if a tissue is not available.
  • Stay home with the following symptoms; fever with a sore throat and/or cough, body aches, fatigue.
  • Students with a fever (temperature 100 degrees or more) not return to school until fever free without the use of fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours.
  • Everyone receive the seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible.
  • Everyone receive the H1N1 vaccine when available.
  • Students change out of their school uniform upon arrival home to be laundered each day.
  • Students use only pens/pencils/crayons from their own school supply.
  • Students who participate in athletics to launder practice and game clothes after each wearing.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Sandy Schluterman RN BSN
Mary Immaculate School Nurse
972-243-7105, extension 111

"Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have"
Winston Churchill

WeatherBug
 
Mary Immaculate School
14032 Dennis Lane
Farmers Branch, TX 75234
972-243-7105
FAX 972-241-7678

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