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Health Matters

EMERGENCY INFORMATION

Contacting the parent/guardian of a sick child is a priority for Cumberland County Schools. To ensure that parent/guardian are notified promptly we are requesting that you update your emergency information with any change in, work, cell or home phone numbers. Updating the names and phone numbers of friends and/or relatives who are authorized to pick up your child from school will assist us in providing quality care in the event of illnesses or emergency.

Parent/guardian who leave their children with a caregiver while deployed or out of town,  remember to notify the school regarding who will be responsible for the children during their absence.

POSSIBLE HEALTH CONCERNS

FEVER: Any student who has a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher should be sent home from school.  However, it is not necessary for a student to have a fever of 100 Fahrenheit (37.8o Celsius)  or greater to go home if accompanied by other symptoms. Students with a fever must be kept at home until the temperature has been normal for twenty-four hours without fever-reducing medication.

HEAD LICE: What are lice and nits? Lice are tiny but visible insects.  They live in hair and survive on human blood.  The eggs of lice are called nits.  They too are very small but visible. Nits are extremely tiny and white, and they cling to the hair.  The female louse attaches her eggs to the hairs near the scalp. The eggs hatch and leave empty nit shells on the hair.  As lice mature, they begin laying more eggs.  It takes seven to 10 days for lice to mature.  For additional information about lice: Head Lice Information

MRSA: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium responsible for infections in humans with many of the infections difficult to treat due to the bacterium’s resistance to a large group of antibiotic called the beta-lactams, which include the penicillin and the cephalosporins. MRSA is often sub-categorized as community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) or healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). Recent Reports have noted the USA 300 and 400 strains of CA-MRSA have evolved to community-acquired levels that attack the healthiest of children and professional athletes making it very different than the traditional strain of MRSA that affects the immune-compromised. Given this, the importance of a disinfection program with proven efficacy against CA-MRSA 300 and 400 is vital.

How is MRSA spread? MRSA is predominately spread from person to person through direct skin contact or contact with shared items or surfaces (e.g., towels, used bandages, weight-training equipment, playground equipment, synthetic-turf, etc.) that have been in contact with a person’s infection.  The bacterium is not carried through the air and does not live in soil.

For additional guidance regarding Cumberland County Schools’ Best Practices contact the Office of Health Services at 910.678.2406 or your child’s Public Health School Nurse.


COMMON CHILDHOOD ILLNESS 

CONJUNCTIVITIS
What is it?
Conjunctivitis often referred to as “pink eye” because it can cause the white of the eye to take on a pink or red color.  Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the membrane that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. There are three types of conjunctivitis inflammation: infectious, allergic and chemical. Infectious conjunctivitis or pink-eye is caused by bacteria or a virus. It is most common in children under age 5. It is easily spread to others by touch, clothing or other shared articles, like eye makeup applicators and eye medications. Allergic conjunctivitis may be caused by pollen, cosmetics, animals or fabrics. Irritants like air pollution, noxious fumes, and chlorine in swimming pools may cause chemical conjunctivitis.

What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms are pinkness to redness in the eye(s); itchy, watery eyes; yellow discharge from the eyes; swollen eyelids and a scratchy feeling in the eyes.

School attendance?
Infectious conjunctivitis or pink-eye is contagious. Children who have a lot of eye drainage and itching should not return to school until approved by a healthcare provider.

For additional guidance regarding Cumberland County Schools’ Best Practices contact the Office of Health Services at 910.678.2406 or your child’s Public Health School Nurse.

FIFTH DISEASE AND PARVOVIRUS B19
What is it?
Fifth disease and parvovirus B19 is a viral illness that most children recover from quickly and without complication. It is especially common in children between the ages of 5 and 15, may produce a distinctive red rash on the face that makes a child appear to have a slapped cheek. Fifth disease begins with a low-grade fever, headache and mild cold-like symptoms. The rash then spreads to the trunk, arms, and legs.

What are the symptoms?
Fifth disease is usually mild for children and adults who are otherwise healthy and most cases do not require special medication.  Notice: If you are pregnant, immune suppressed or have sickle cell disease and you have been exposed to fifth disease, alert your healthcare provider.

School attendance?
Since the rash may be prolonged and the illness mild, children who do not have a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) or greater should be able to attend school even though the rash is present.

For additional guidance regarding Cumberland County Schools’ Best Practices contact the Office of Health Services at 910.678.2406 or your child’s Public Health School Nurse.

HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE
What is it?
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is primarily a common childhood illness. However, adults can get it too. Persons may develop the disease when they make direct contact with the saliva, blister fluid or stool of an infected person. Persons with hand, foot and mouth disease are most contagious during the first week of the illness, but transmission can persist for weeks after symptoms resolve.

What are the symptoms?
Fever greater than (100.o F) (37.8o C ), reduced appetite, sore throat, and a feeling of being unwell.  One or two days after the fever starts, painful sores can develop. They usually begin as small red spots, that blister and can become painful.

School attendance?
Children may be excluded from school for the first few days of the illness or longer if they have blisters in the mouth and they drool, or if they have leaking blisters on their hands.

For additional guidance regarding Cumberland County Schools’ Best Practices contact the Office of Health Services at 910.678.2406 or your child’s Public Health School Nurse.

NOROVIRUS INFECTION
What is it?
Norovirus infection is caused by a group of virus germs called noroviruses and can cause the “stomach flu” or gastroenteritis, or food poisoning. Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Anyone can get infected and sick with norovirus.

What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of norovirus infection usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. A person may also have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general feeling of lethargy. The illness is usually short, with symptoms lasting only about one or two days. In general, children may experience vomiting more than adults. Most people with norovirus infection have more than one of these symptoms.  People who are infected by the virus may become ill quickly. Symptoms of norovirus infection usually begin about 24 to 48 hours after the virus enters the body, but may be evident as early as 12 hours after exposure.  The norovirus infections are very contagious (illness can be spread quickly from person to person). People are contagious from the moment they start feeling sick until about three days after recovery.

School attendance?
Since the virus is passed in vomit and stool, children should remain home from childcare or school for 24 hours after experiencing vomiting or diarrhea. When children return to school, hand washing must be monitored.

For additional guidance regarding Cumberland County Schools’ Best Practices contact the Office of Health Services at 910.678.2406 or your child’s Public Health School Nurse.

PERTUSSIS-WHOOPING COUGH
What is it?
Pertussis often referred to as whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that is easily preventable by vaccine.

What are the symptoms?
Early symptoms include a runny nose, low-grade fever, and mild, occasional cough. These symptoms usually appear about seven to ten days after exposure to the bacteria. A cough gradually becomes more severe. After one to two weeks, the person begins to have episodes of hard, fast coughing that end in a long inhalation of air that sounds like a high pitched whoop, hence the nickname “whooping cough.” During an episode, the person may turn blue and appear ill and distressed. The person may vomit and show signs of exhaustion immediately after the episode. The whooping cough episodes may last one to six weeks. A cough slowly goes away but may return if the person has other respiratory infections. Very young children (less than 1 year of age) are most severely affected. Older children, teenagers and older adults may have symptoms ranging from very mild to a persistent cough. They do not usually make the whooping sound while coughing. However, they are still able to pass the disease on to other people.

How is it prevented?

Immunizations are the best preventive method against pertussis. One immunization is called DTaP. It is for infants and young children. Tdap is another vaccine. It is for older children and adults. Both vaccines are a combination of Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis vaccines. In addition, covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing can reduce the spread of the virus. Frequent hand washing is also recommended. Any person who has pertussis should not go to school or work until five days after treatment has begun.

For additional guidance regarding Cumberland County Schools’ Best Practices contact the Office of Health Services at 910.678.2406 or your child’s Public Health School Nurse.

BEST PRACTICES

For additional guidance regarding Cumberland County Schools’ Best Practices contact the Office of Health Services at 910.678.2406 or your child’s Public Health School Nurse.

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Published by Elizabeth Thompson on February 4, 2019
        

Cumberland County Schools
2465 Gillespie Street • Fayetteville, NC 28306
910.678.2300

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