Health News from the school nurse:
To: Parents of Students at School District of Durand-Arkansaw and Assumption Schools:
Please review the Disease Fact Sheet Series listed below:
Pertussis (Whooping Cough):
Pertussis is a highly contagious illness that begins with mild, cold-like symptoms including cough and runny nose. These first symptoms typically appear 7-10 days after a person is exposed. The cough typically worsens over the following weeks and becomes spasmodic. The cough may be followed by a “whooping” sound. The spasms of cough may be followed by vomiting. Some persons with pertussis may have very mild symptoms (mild cough with no other symptoms) and may not realize that they are sick or contagious. Pertussis is most severe in infants and can cause death.
Pertussis is spread through coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread by touching a tissue or sharing a cup used by someone with pertussis.
Pertussis is treated with an antibiotic (erythromycin). Students who are prescribed antibiotics for suspected pertussis can return to school following the fifth day of treatment. Without antibiotics, a person with pertussis is considered to be contagious for three weeks. It is important that ill students stay at home away from others (especially infants and young children).
Pertussis vaccine is administered in combination with diphtheria and tetanus vaccine (DTaP) in a five-dose series and protects children against whooping cough. Please check with your health care provider to make sure your child’s shots are up-to-date.
Norovirus (Formerly known as "Norwalk-like virus") - It will explain more about noroviruses.
What are noroviruses?
Noroviruses (previously called Norwalk viruses, caliciviruses, or SRSVs) are a group of viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis in humans, often referred to as "stomach flu". However, noroviruses are completely unrelated to influenza, a respiratory virus.
What are the symptoms of a norovirus infection?
The most common symptoms are a sudden onset of vomiting, watery, non-bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and headache. The symptoms occur in all age groups, but vomiting is more common in children. Many persons may also experience low-grade fever, headache, chills, muscle aches and fatigue.
How soon do symptoms appear?
The symptoms may appear from 12 to 60 hours after exposure to the virus, but usually occur within 24 to 48 hours.
How are noroviruses spread?
The norovirus enters through the mouth, multiplies in the body, and is passed in the highly infectious stool or vomit of an infected person. If careful hand washing with soap is not done, the virus can be carried on an infected person’s hands. If the infected person then handles food or drink that someone else consumes, the virus can be transmitted to others. Food associated outbreaks have been linked to cold prepared, ready-to-eat foods (e.g., salads, coleslaw, sandwiches or desserts) and shellfish harvested in contaminated waters. Outbreaks have also been associated with drinking water and recreational water (e.g., swimming ponds and beaches) where persons may have ingested water contaminated with fecal matter from an infected person.
Direct person-to-person contact or environmental contamination (e.g., exposure to areas where fecal accidents or vomiting has occurred) may also be a route of transmission.
How infectious are noroviruses?
Noroviruses are highly infectious and a very small number of virus particles may result in symptomatic infections.
For how long is a person infectious?
The virus is very easily passed from person-to-person from the time of symptom onset and up to 48 hours after diarrhea or vomiting have stopped. In some cases the viruses may be shed for up to a week.
What is the treatment for this illness?
There is no treatment for this illness. Most people recover in two to three days after they become ill. Supportive treatment such as fluid replacement may be needed to prevent dehydration in severe cases.
What can be done to prevent the spread of noroviruses?
Thorough hand washing (See Division of Public Health "Hand washing" Fact Sheet) following toilet use and before handling food is the best way to prevent the spread of these viruses. Persons currently ill with diarrhea or vomiting should not handle food, work in day care centers or care for patients in a health care facility until at least 48 hours after these symptoms have stopped.
For more information, contact your Local Public Health Department.
4/18/2017 Health Report:
Just wanted to request that all parents/guardians be proactive and take the time to check your children for any signs of head lice. We recently have had reports of head lice in the elementary building. The best way to check to is to have your child sit under a bright light, or even outside in the sun shine and then carefully divide the hair in sections and look very closely for signs of small (size of sesame seed) gray/tan insects that are crawling through the hair. Even easier to see are the lice eggs, called nits. They don’t move and are in larger numbers. Look for tiny white or brown oval sized eggs attached to an individual piece of hair. They are stuck on and don’t move by shaking the hair or brushing the hair. Sometimes the head itches but not always. Give your child a book to read or something to do while you are checking. It takes time to do this.
If you do find something but aren’t sure if it is head lice, feel free to call 715-495-2922 or email Kathy Dahl School Nurse @firstname.lastname@example.org or check with your own health care provider. If lice is confirmed there is a recommended set of procedures from Pepin County Health Department on the school district website or you can contact Kathy Dahl for these directions. Instructions are on the school website under Health and Wellness - Resources. Live lice must be removed from the hair to return to school, but a child can be in school with lice eggs. Parents should continue to remove all lice eggs and this takes time over the course of several days at least. We keep reports of head lice confidential, but we do appreciate it if you let us know if lice is detected and treated. We assist families and recheck students upon return to school after treatment is done.
INFLUENZA VIRUS: The flu is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs that is caused by the influenza virus. The flu can spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing. Most people with the flu are sick for about a week, but then feel better. However, some people (especially young children, pegnant women, older people, and people with chronic health problems) can get very sick and some can die. Symptoms may include feeling tired, fever, headache, dry cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, and sore muscles. Some people, especially children, may also have stomach problems and diarrhea. Coughing can last two or more weeks. Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to protect your child against influenza.
During influenza season, everyone should take the following steps to prevent the spread of germs; Clean your hands often....cover your coughs and sneezes....and stay home if you are sick!
Prevent the Spread!!!! Keep students home until fever free for 24 hours without using fever reducing medication!
Keep in mind that strep infections, stomach viruses, and cold viruses are also prevalent so keep hand washing at the top of your list.
Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis): There have been some cases of pinkeye this year. If your child has symptoms of pinkeye, please keep your child home and check with your medical provider regarding recommendations and treatment. Please contact Kathy Dahl, RN, at 715-495-2922 to report cases and with any questions that you may have. More information under Resources.
MENINGITIS VACCINE: This is not required by law but it is recommended. Meningitis is a rare disease but very deadly and seems to hit in the teens and early college years. This vaccination protects against most types of bacterial meningitis and is recommended through the teen years. If children get a meningitis vaccine at age 12, it will protect them through the early teens, but a booster is needed at age 16 to carry the protection through the late teens and early 20’s. To learn more about this vaccine and why it is important please go to this website: www.voicesofmeningitis.org.