When to keep your child home from school for illness
Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether or not to send your child to school if they complain of feeling ill. The following guidelines of signs and symptoms will help you make a decision.
• Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
• Excessive coughing and sneezing
• Sore, reddened throat, swollen glands, or fever associated with these symptoms
• Red, watery, or mattering eyes
• Large skin eruptions or rashes, especially accompanied by fever
• Earache or drainage from ears
• Temperature of 99.6 or more
If you have any questions or if you would like the school nurse to check your child upon arrival at school, please call the school. In case of absence, please notify the school secretaries or teacher before school starts, if possible.
Your child should stay home 24 hours after being symptom-free. A note from your physician or health care provider is needed if your child stays in for recess beyond 2 days or if ill over 3 days.
The first and best defense to keep germs at bay is good hand cleaning hygiene. Students and staff should wash their hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective, but only if they contain at least 60% alcohol. If soap and water are not available and alcohol-based products are not allowed in the school, other hand sanitizers that do not contain alcohol may be useful for cleaning hands. However, they may not be as effective as alcohol-based sanitizers.
Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice) is the best way to keep your hands from spreading viruses. Just rinsing under the water using NO soap won’t do the trick. Wet hands, apply soap, and work into a good foaming lather, then rinse with water. Dry your hands well with a paper towel. It may take a little extra time, but it’s well worth the effort.
Head Lice Reminders
Head lice are insects that bite and suck blood and live on the scalp. While they do not “jump,” “hop” or “fly,” they are an active, fast-crawling insect. Female lice can lay about 150 eggs or nits in a month, which is the normal lifespan of an adult louse.
The best way to see head lice is to check under a bright natural light, like the sun. Check the scalp, parting the hair along the crown of the head, base of the neck, and above and behind the ears. Head lice are various sizes and colors range from light to darker brown. Nits or eggs are dark when there is a live louse in them and white when the louse has hatched. Nits can be distinguished from dandruff by trying to remove them from the hair shaft. Nits will remain “glued” to the hair and are difficult to remove. Look for skin irritation (caused by scratching) behind the ears and the back of the neck.
Lice do not live on pets; they may crawl on pets but cannot survive on them. Lice are spread by head-to-head contact and the sharing of brushes, combs, hats, or towels. Because of mutation, the louse is now resistant to many lice products. The lice shampoos may kill some of the live lice but not all. The lice eggs may not be killed and will hatch within 7 to 10 days. If head lice are found, please notify the school nurses.
Parents are also encouraged to check their child’s head weekly. This is a good habit to establish. Field studies of outbreaks indicate that the community, not the school, is the major site of head lice transmission.
Treatment is a two-week process. Treat initially with a lice product you can find at local grocery or department stores such as pharmacies, some grocery stores and super chains, such at Walmart, Target. This treatment needs to be repeated in seven days after the initial treatment. Hair should then be combed thoroughly using a fine-toothed or lice comb. Metal Combs, such as a Licemeister or something similar is recommended. Daily use of ordinary shampoo followed by a crème rinse conditioner, along with combing the hair with a fine-tooth or lice comb, should be done for 14 days. The daily combing is a sure way to remove nits from the hair, which is a must when removing lice from your child’s hair. Treatment should be repeated in 7 days, even if no lice are found. During the two-week period, the crawling lice forms should decrease in number and size, reflecting progress toward effective treatment. Cutting the hair short helps in combing and removing lice.
Pillows, pillow cases, bed linen, and clothing should be laundered. Place items in a plastic bag for two weeks if unable to launder. If unable to wash pillows, place in the dryer on high for 30 minutes. Vacuum floors, mattresses, couches, etc. Combs, brushes, barrettes, etc. should be boiled or bagged for 2 weeks.
The Licemeister comb is a specially designed comb that removes almost all the nits with repeated combings. It is especially effective if your child has thick or long hair. If your child has thinner hair, it may be necessary to remove the nits manually using 2 fingernails.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school nurse.
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