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Health Information
From the CH-UH School Nurse
Linda Rudy, RN


But I Don’t WANT to Be Sick!

Both colds and the flu are caused by viruses – many different ones. Once an infected person shares their virus by coughing or sneezing it into the air, touching things after coughing or sneezing on their hands, or by sharing glasses, cups, forks or spoons, the virus strains are able to make others sick as well. The bad news? There are so many viruses (thousands) that cause colds that there is no vaccine against them. The good news is that with some simple acts of prevention and generally taking good care of yourself and loved ones, you can lessen your risk of getting sick with either type of illness. You can help shorten the time you are sick, as well.

Medication Policy

Medications cannot be administered in school without the doctor's and parents' instructions. Forms are available in the school office for both prescription and non-prescription or at the links to right of this page. Please return the completed form to the school office. All medication must be delivered to the school in the original pharmacy container.

If your student has health concerns, has medication that must be administered during school hours, or if you have questions, please call your school's main office and request to talk to the nurse. 

The best way to deal with a virus? Don’t catch it!

  • Support your immune system by eating healthy foods, drinking lots of fluids, and getting adequate rest. It’s your immune system that will help you fight the virus. Talk to your health care provider about vitamins or supplements if you are interested.
  • If you are over 6 months of age, get the flu shot unless you are allergic to any of the components in the vaccine, or have been told not to by your doctor.
  • The flu shot cannot cause you to get the flu; the virus is grown in chicken eggs and is killed before anyone receives it. There is nothing in the vaccine shot that is capable of causing the flu.
  • Vaccinations can be obtained in doctor’s offices, drug stores, and health clinics. You don’t have to wait for weeks to be scheduled for an appointment.
  • If you are feeling sick, but not having a major illness or running a high fever (over 1010 F.), the flu shot doesn’t present a health risk.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, rubbing actively for at least 20 seconds (mentally sing the “A-B-C song,” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” slowly) between the fingers and across the fronts and backs of your hands.
  • Wash your hands before and after eating or going to the bathroom.
  • Wash your hands after blowing your nose and throwing away the tissue.
  • Sneeze-in-your-Sleeve, Cough-in-your-Cuff – or at least use a tissue and not your bare hands to “catch” your cough or sneeze.
  • Take over-the-counter medications that treat specific symptoms – congestion, fever, headache, or cough – not multi-symptom drugs that might treat you for more problems than you have.
  • If you are under 21, or are taking care of someone under 21, DO NOT TAKE ASPIRIN (also listed as acetylsalicylic acid). It can interact with the virus and can cause Reye’s Syndrome, which can cause death in someone whose immune system is not fully mature. (NOTE: this is a possibility, not a direct cause-and-effect.) There are lots of other options out there.

Call your health care provider or the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (216-201-2041) if you have questions or concerns, or would like more information on ways to help yourself and loved ones to stay healthier.

How Do I Know if it’s a Cold or the Flu?

Symptoms

Cold

Flu

Onset/Duration

Highly contagious the first three days; usually lasts a week to 10 days

Symptoms come on quickly and are generally more severe. Most flu symptoms gradually improve over two to five days, but it is not uncommon to feel run down for a week or more.

Fever

Sometimes, usually mild

Usual; higher (1000 – 1020 F, occasionally higher especially in young children); lasts 3 to 4 days

Headache

Occasionally

Common

General aches and pains

Slight

Usual; often severe

Fatigue, Weakness

Sometimes

Usual; can last 2 to 3 weeks

Extreme Exhaustion

Never

Usual; at the beginning of the illness

Stuffy nose

Common

Sometimes

Sneezing

Usual

Sometimes

Sore throat

Common

Sometimes

Chest discomfort, Cough

Mild to moderate; hacking cough

Common; can become severe

Complications

Sinus congestion; middle ear infection

Sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infection, pneumonia; can be life-threatening

Prevention

Wash hands often; avoid close contact with anyone with a cold; support your immune system

Wash hands often; avoid close contact with anyone who has flu symptoms; get the annual flu vaccine; support your immune system

Treatment

Decongestants; pain reliever/fever reducer medications

Decongestants, pain relievers, or fever reducers are available over the counter; over the counter cough and cold medicines should not be given to young children unless your doctor tells you to do so; prescription antiviral drugs for flu may be given in some cases; call your doctor for more information about treatment


Virus(es) enter your body through the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes or mouth. Every time you touch your hand to one of these areas, you could be infecting yourself with a virus. Wash your hands!!

A lot of information is available on the internet – both accurate and not. Information used for this article is from sites run by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) http://www.cdc.gov, the NIH (National Institutes of Health) http://www.nih.gov; the Cuyahoga County Board of Health http://www.ccbh.net. These, and many major hospitals and health care systems are generally more reliable than discussion and chat rooms.

Get extra rest, wash your hands, drink lots of water, wash your hands, avoid junk foods, and, oh yes – wash your hands! Here’s hoping Tiger Nation will be off to a healthier start!

By Linda Rudy, RN
CH-UH Head Nurse

Measles Outbreak in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Health and affected local health departments are investigating an outbreak of measles in Ohio. The outbreak began with unvaccinated individuals who traveled outside the United States. As of May 6, 2014, there are a total of 42 diagnosed cases, among the 6 counties currently affected (Ashland, Coshocton, Holmes, Knox, Richland, Wayne). There are possible cases, unconfirmed as yet, in Parma and Hudson.

ODH and local health departments are encouraging residents to get vaccinated with the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two doses of MMR vaccine provide full protection against measles to 99 out of every 100 persons vaccinated. Please discuss the risks and benefits of immunizations with your health care provider.

Please be aware that if your child has not been fully vaccinated and there is a confirmed case of measles in their school building, your child will be excluded until 21 days after rash onset in the last case of measles in that school.

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More Measles Information

What is measles?
Measles is an infectious respiratory disease caused by the measles virus, is highly contagious, and spreads easily. The virus is in the mucus in the nose and throat of infected people. When they sneeze or cough, droplets spray into the air and the droplets remain active and contagious on infected surfaces for up to 2 hours. Infected people are usually contagious from about 4 days before their rash starts to 4 days afterwards, so an infected person can spread the disease before knowing he or she is infected.

What are the symptoms of measles?

Measles symptoms begin with fever, runny nose, cough, loss of appetite, and red, watery eyes for about four days, followed by a rash. The rash usually lasts 5-6 days and begins at the hairline, moves to the face and upper neck, and proceeds down the body.

The disease can also cause severe illness and complications, such as diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia, encephalitis (brain infection), seizures, and death. These complications are more common among children under 5 years of age and adults over 20 years of age.

How long does it take to show signs of measles after being exposed?
It takes an average of 10-12 days from exposure to the first symptom, which is usually fever. The measles rash does not usually appear until approximately 14 days after exposure, 2-3 days after the fever begins.

How is measles diagnosed?

Measles is diagnosed by a combination of the patient’s symptoms and by laboratory tests.

Is there a treatment for measles?

There is no specific treatment for measles. People with measles need bed rest, fluids, and control of fever. Patients with complications may need treatment specific to their problem.

Can someone get measles more than once?

No.

How can I protect my child and myself against measles?

The best protection against measles for individuals and the community is through routine immunization with MMR vaccine. This is a combined vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

In almost all cases, people who received the MMR vaccine are protected against measles. However, in rare cases, people who get the vaccine can still become infected with the measles if exposed to the virus. Two doses of MMR vaccine provide full protection against measles to 99 out of every 100 persons vaccinated.

At what age should children get the MMR vaccine?

Children should receive the first dose of MMR vaccine at 12-15 months of age and the second dose at 4-6 years of age (or no earlier than 28 days after the first dose). Older children who have not been vaccinated should receive two doses of MMR vaccine at least 28 days apart. The recommended age for receiving MMR vaccine might change if there is a measles outbreak in your community, or if you will be traveling to a foreign country. In such cases, check with your child’s health care provider to ensure that your child is properly vaccinated to protect against measles. Additional information about MMR vaccination can be found on the CDC website at:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/measles/default.htm

Do adults need to be vaccinated against measles?

All U.S. adults born during or after 1957 should also get at least one dose of MMR vaccine unless they can show they have either the vaccine or had a blood test that showed they were immune to measles. Healthcare workers should have two doses of MMR vaccine. More specific recommendations for vaccinating adults can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/

Are there people who should not get the MMR vaccine?

Yes, some people should not get MMR vaccine or should wait before getting it. This includes persons with allergies to components of the vaccine and those with medical conditions that preclude vaccination. If you have further questions, discuss them with your health care provider. Additional information can be found on the Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) found on the CDC website at:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/mmr.html

Is the MMR vaccine safe?

The MMR vaccine has been in use for more than three decades in the U.S., and reports of serious adverse events following vaccination have been extremely rare. As with all vaccines, there can be minor reactions from the MMR vaccine. These reactions might include pain and redness at the injection site, headache, fatigue, rash, or a vague feeling of discomfort.

It is important to know that the risk of MMR vaccine causing serious harm or death has been extremely small and that being vaccinated is much safer than getting any of the three diseases (measles, mumps and rubella) the vaccine protects against.

Vaccine safety experts, including experts at CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), agree that MMR vaccine is not responsible for recent increases in the number of children with autism. In 2004, a report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that there is no link between autism and MMR vaccine, and that there is no link between autism and vaccines that contain thimerosal as a preservative.

Information about measles vaccine safety can be reviewed on the CDC website at:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Vaccines/MMR/MMR.html

This was adapted from material developed by the CDC, the Ohio Department of Health, and the Immunization Action Coalition.

Immunizations

7th Grade Immunization Requirements

Prior to entering 7th grade, Ohio law requires every student to have documentation of the following immunizations:
  • Tdap vaccine booster (must have been given after August 30, 2012)
  • Meningococcal vaccine
Verification of these immunizations must be sent to the School Nurse using the following form or other documentation from your health care provider by August 14, 2017 or your student will not be allowed, by state law, to attend school until documentation is received.
 
Extended absence due to medical issues
Please contact your School Nurse if your child will be absent from school for an extended period of time (10 consecutive school days or more) due to an illness or injury.
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