School Health News & Info
Health News: Flu Resources (from the Washington Department of Health)
Posted on January 23, 2013
The Washington State Department of Health issued a flu news release last week about the widespread flu activity in our state. This means that people are catching and spreading the flu in most areas of the state. Influenza A (H3N2) is circulating most and is associated with more hospitalizations and deaths. We encourage people who haven't been vaccinated to do so now and to continue using good health manners like frequent hand-washing, covering coughs, and staying home and away from others when sick.
Visit our department Flu News web pages for more information about flu at http://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/Flu.aspx. Also, find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WADeptHealth and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/WA_DeptofHealth.
- Questions About Flu Outbreaks in Your School, Child Care, or Preschool? Please contact your local health department at http://www.doh.wa.gov/AboutUs/PublicHealthSystem/LocalHealthJurisdictions.aspx.
- Clinical questions about flu vaccine: http://[email protected]
- Flu News Release http://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/2013NewsReleases/13004FluWidespreadinWA.aspx
- Weekly Washington Flu Updates http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/5100/fluupdate.pdf
- Free Flu Materials and Resources http://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/Flu/MaterialsandResources.aspx
- Seasonal Flu Information for Schools & Childcare Providers http://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/index.htm
- High Risk Conditions http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm
- Antiviral Medications http://www.cdc.gov/flu/antivirals/whatyoushould.htm
Prevention and Treatment:
Flu vaccination, although far from perfect, still offers the best protection from the flu along with good health manners. Information on caring for people sick with flu can be found in our flu web pages at http://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/Flu/QuestionsandAnswers.aspx#good.
If you have the flu and you're at high risk for complications, contact your healthcare provider or clinic. Early treatment with antiviral medications can help lessen the severity of illness.
Where to Find Flu Vaccine:
The department buys flu vaccine each year for kids under age 19. This vaccine is provided at no cost, however, providers may charge an office visit fee or fee to give the vaccine, called an administration fee. People who cannot afford the fee can ask their healthcare provider to waive the cost. Childhood flu vaccine is still available but we encourage parents to call their child's healthcare provider about flu vaccine availability and possible clinic times. Most health plans cover flu vaccine for adults. Uninsured or underinsured adults can find vaccine and clinics by:
Contacting their local health department at http://www.doh.wa.gov/AboutUs/PublicHealthSystem/LocalHealthJurisdictions.aspx. Calling the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588. Using the online HealthMap Flu Vaccine Finder at http://flushot.healthmap.org/?address.
Department of Health Office of Immunization and Child Profile
Health News: Pertussis Outbreak in King County
Posted on May 14, 2012
From Public Health Seattle & King County
Washington State and King County are experiencing a widespread pertussis outbreak. In King County, there were 100 confirmed cases of pertussis reported in the first 3 months of 2012 - the highest number reported for this time of year in the past decade, and more than the reports received in all of last year.
Pertussis is a bacterial illness that may begin with symptoms like the common cold: runny nose, scratchy throat, or cough. The cough then gets worse over one to two weeks. Fever is usually mild or absent. Most children and adults don't get seriously ill. But for infants, pertussis can be life-threatening. Last year, two infants in Washington State died of pertussis.
There are many things you can to do protect your family and your community from pertussis:
- Make sure that everyone in your family, including teens, parents and grandparents, are up-to-date on all of their shots. There is a one-time pertussis booster shot that all teens and adults should receive if they have not already had it.
- Keep coughing people away from babies and pregnant women.
See a doctor for symptoms of pertussis. These include:
- Coughing a week or more with any of the following: uncontrollable fits of coughing, vomiting after coughing, or coughing until out of breath
- Coughing two weeks or more
- See a doctor sooner for your cough if someone close to you has recently had pertussis.
- Infants, pregnant women in their 3rd trimester, and people who have close contact with them should see a doctor for any new or worsening unexplained cough.
- If you have pertussis, stay out of work and school until you have finished five days of antibiotic medicine for pertussis. People who have pertussis and don't take antibiotics should stay out of work or school for three weeks, or until the cough is completely gone.
- Cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently with soap and water, and stay home from work or school when sick.
Thank you for taking these steps to protect the health of your family and community. If you have questions about pertussis or are concerned that you might have pertussis, please call your health care provider. For more information you may also call Public Health at 206-296-4774 or visit the Public Health website.
Notes From The Nurse
Posted on September 30, 2010
The fall season is upon us, and our thoughts start turning towards costumes, pumpkins and turkeys. There is another topic we should begin to think about, the flu. Flu season is coming soon. The Center for Disease Control and the public health department want me to remind you to get your flu shot. There will be enough vaccine for everyone this year. The H1N1 vaccine will be given in combination with the seasonal flu vaccine. For more information please consult your physician or view the CDC flu information site. www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease.
Please remember to cover your cough, wash your hands, and please keep sick children home when they are ill.
Medications At School
We would like to review the rules for medication administration at school. Holy Rosary School recommends that medication be taken at home whenever possible. We recognize, however, that in some cases it is essential that medication be administered during the school day. For the protection of all the students and to comply with Washington state law, Holy Rosary School has a policy in place for handling of all medications in school, including prescription and over-the-counter medications (OTC).
Meds must be delivered to school by parent in a properly labeled prescription or OTC container. Do not put any kind of medication (including cough drops or vitamins) in student's lunch box or pockets. Students with inhalers and emergency medications can carry their medications on their person, but only with written approval by doctor and parent.
PLEASE NOTE: Before a medication of any type, (prescription or OTC) we must have, according to RCW 28A.210.260, a completed Permission to Administer Medications at School form (PDF) on file in the school office. Both the parent and the physician must sign this form before any medication can be administered to your child. The form is available on our web site. Many physicians have blank copies of the form in their office. The school will accept a fax of the physician's authorization and signature from your physician's office.
Have a wonderful autumn,
Patricia McBrien, RN
Posted on September 9, 2010
September is National Food Safety Education Month
Did you know that an estimated 76 million cases of food borne disease occur each year in the United States? The CDC estimates that there are 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths related to food borne diseases each year. With the recent Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak fresh in our minds, now is an ideal time for food safety education.
Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E.coli O157:H7 are the most common bacteria associated with food borne illnesses. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Contact your health care provider when diarrheal illness is accompanied by a high fever (defined as 101.5F) measured orally, blood in the stools, prolonged vomiting that prevents keeping liquids down, signs of dehydration, including a decrease in urination, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up or if diarrheal illness lasts more than 3 days.
Reducing your risk: Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry, and seafood, and do not drink raw milk or eat raw milk products. Safe internal temps are: hamburgers 160F, roasts, steaks, chops 160F, ground poultry 165F, Pork 160F, and hot dogs 165F (source: CDC)
In addition to cooking meats to their proper temperature, the following activities will cut down the risk of a food borne illness in your home.
- Clean Clean your hands with soap and warm water before handling food. Clean surfaces before preparing food on them.
- Separate Separate cooked foods from ready-to-eat foods. Do not use utensils on cooked foods that were previously used on raw foods and do not place cooked foods on plates where raw foods once were unless it has been cleaned thoroughly.
- Cook Cook foods to a safe internal temperature (see chart). Use a meat thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to a safe temperature. Color is not an indicator of doneness.
- Chill Chill foods promptly after serving and when transporting from one place to another. Keep you refrigerator at 40F or below. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
Pertussis (whopping cough)
Cases of Pertusssis (whopping cough) have been diagnosed within Washington state. Cases of noted this summer in eastern Washington, and now several cases have been noted north of King county. Pertussis is a contagious respiratory infection that is spread via droplets. Please consult your health care provider if you are unsure about your child’s pertussis immunization status. For more information regarding Pertussis go to the following web site: www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/Immunize/diseases/pertussis/
Patricia McBrien, RN
Posted on August 2, 2010
The first day of school is just around the corner and I would to take time to review the topics of medications at school and vaccination requirements.
Medications at school:
Holy Rosary school relies on the cooperation of parents/guardians to safely and effectively administers mediations to our students at school. Parents are responsible for: supplying all medications, transporting medications to and from school, and completing all required medication authorization forms. The needed forms may be downloaded from our school website.
Requirements for all medications: prescription, non-prescription and homeopathic:
- Parents/guardians must complete the authorization to administer medication form for each medication.
- The health care provider and the parent/guardian must sign the form. Medication cannot be given without the completed form.
- Parents/guardians must bring all medication to the school office for the student.
- All medication must be in the original prescription bottle, container or package.
The parent must label all non-prescription medication. The label should include:
- Student name
- Date issued
- Name of medication
- Name of health care provider
- Exact dosage
- Time of day medication is to be given
- Directions on the authorization to administer medication form must match the
- If half doses have been prescribed, the parent/guardian must break the medication tablets in half before bringing to school.
The authorization to administer medication form must be completed for inhalers. If the student is allowed to carry his/her own inhaler, written permission from parent/guardian and health care provider is required.
Washington state law requires school age children to receive specific immunizations in order to attend school. Holy Rosary school works with the Washington state Department of Health to comply with state laws on required vaccinations.
Required documentation Washington state law RCW 28A.210.080 requires that all children show proof of immunization or certification of exemption to attend school. All students must have a completed Certificate of Immunization Status (CIS) form on file in the school office. Parents/guardians must complete the form and turn it in to school by first day of school.
Immunizations required for Kindergarten
- Hepatitis B: Three doses
- DTP, DTaP, DT or Td: Four doses Last dose must be given on or after fourth birthday.
- Varicella (Chickenpox): Two doses First dose must be given on or after first birthday and second dose at least 28 days after the first dose.
- Polio: Three doses Last dose must be given on or after fourth birthday.
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR): Two doses must be given on or after first birthday and at least 28 days apart.
Booster immunization requirement for Sixth graders
All children entering sixth grade are required to have a tetanus booster called Tdap if at least 5 years have passed since their last dose of a tetanus containing vaccine. Most of your children had their last tetanus vaccine before entering kindergarten. This vaccine may be listed as DTP, DTaP or Td on your child's immunization records.
Verification of at least one dose required for second, third and sixth grade students. Verification of two doses is required for first grade students.
Please contact your health care provider with any questions regarding your child's immunizations. The Washington State Department of Health has more information regarding required and recommended vaccinations on their web site: http://www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/Immunize/schools/vaccine.htm.
Patricia McBrien, RN