Our School Nurse
Mrs. Mary Cadman, the school nurse, handles any illness or medical emergency that may occur during the school day. At the start of each school year, parents are asked to complete an emergency form noting home and work phone numbers. Also required are the phone numbers of nearby friends or relatives who will be willing to take responsibility if the child is ill or injured and the parent cannot be reached. In an emergency, if neither parent is available, the family physician or school medical adviser will be called. Please update your child’s medical status throughout the year by providing current medications, recent immunizations, injuries, allergies, surgeries or other health concerns.
If your child will be absent due to illness, travel or family obligation, please notify the school either in writing or by phone. This can be done by calling the elementary office at 435-9871, the middle school office at 435-4509, or my direct line at 435-0254. You may leave a message on my voice mail. Failure to report an absence must be recorded as an unexcused absence.
At the beginning of each school year, a request form for Acetaminophen is sent home for parent signature. All other medication, either prescription or over-the-counter, must have a completed authorization form from both the parent and the physician. This is needed at the beginning of each school year and any time there is a change in dosage or medication.
Please note the following:
- Medication must be delivered by an adult to the school nurse.
- Medication must be in its original container from the pharmacy properly labeled with the name, dosage, strength, expiration and directions for administration.
- All medication will be administered by the school nurse or appropriate staff.
- Middle school students with asthma may carry and administer their own inhaler once the school nurse determines their ability to do so correctly. Elementary school students with asthma will have their inhalers stored in the health office and will be supervised during administration.
- All medications which are not picked up by the parent at the end of the school year will be disposed of.
All children are screened yearly for height, weight, hearing and vision. Students in grades five through eight will also be screened for scoliosis. Parents will be notified in writing of abnormal findings. A referral form will be attached and should be returned to school with recommendations from the physician for follow-up treatment.
Connecticut Department of Public Health
What causes chickenpox?
Chickenpox is caused by a virus, the varicella zoster virus.
How does chickenpox spread?
Chickenpox spreads from person to person by direct contact or through the air by coughing or sneezing. It is highly contagious. I can also be spread through direct contact with the fluid from a blister of a person infected with chickenpox, or from direct contact with a sore from a person with shingles.
How long does it take to show signs of chickenpox after being exposed?
It takes from 10-21 days to develop symptoms after being exposed to a person infected with chickenpox. The usual time period is 14-16 days.
What are the symptoms of chickenpox?
The most common symptoms of chickenpox are rash, fever, coughing, fussiness, headache, and loss of appetite. The rash usually develops on the scalp and body, and then spreads to the face, arms, and legs. The rash usually forms 200-500 itchy blisters in several successive crops. The illness lasts about 5-10 days.
How serious is chickenpox?
Many cases of chickenpox are mild, but deaths from this disease can occur. Before the development of a vaccine, about 100 people died every year in the United States from chickenpox. Most of these people were previously healthy. Chickenpox also accounted for about 11,000 hospitalizations each year. Even children with average cases of chickenpox are uncomfortable and need to be kept out of daycare or school for a week or more.
What are possible complications from chickenpox?
The most common complication is bacterial infection of the skin or other parts of the body, including the bones, lungs, joints, and blood. The virus can also lead to pneumonia or infection of the brain. These complications are rare but serious. Complications are more common in infants, adults, and persons with weakened immune systems.
How do I know if my child has chickenpox?
Usually chickenpox can be diagnosed by disease history and appearance alone. Adults who need to know if they've had chickenpox in the past can have this determined by a laboratory test.
How long is a person with chickenpox contagious?
Patients with chickenpox are contagious for 1-2 days before the rash appears and continue to be contagious until all the blisters are crusted over (usually 6-8 days).
Is there a treatment for chickenpox?
Most cases of chickenpox in otherwise healthy children are treated with bed rest, fluids, and control of fever. Children with chickenpox should NOT receive aspirin because of possible subsequent risk of Reye's syndrome. Acetaminophen my be given for fever control.
Chickenpox may be treated with an antiviral drug in serious cases, depending on the patient's age and health, the extent of the infection, and the timing of the treatment.
How common is chickenpox in the U.S.?
Before licensure of the varicella vaccine in 1995, each year there were about four million cases of chickenpox, 13,500 hospitalizations and 150 deaths. Cases of chickenpox have steadily declined 80 to 85 percent since the vaccine licensure. From 1995 to 2001, chickenpox hospitalizations declined by 72% and deaths, among those 50 years and younger decreased by 75% or more.
Can you get chickenpox more than once?
Most people are immune to chickenpox after having the disease. However, second cases of chickenpox do occur. The frequency of second cases is not known with certainty, but this appears to be an uncommon event.
If I think my child has been exposed to chickenpox, what should I do?
If the child has had chickenpox or has been vaccinated with two doses of varicella vaccine, nothing needs to be done. It is recommended that a susceptible person (one who has never had chickenpox) receive the chickenpox vaccine as soon as possible after be exposed to the virus (within three days, and possibly up to five days). There is evidence that the vaccine may prevent illness or reduced the seriousness of the disease, if given within this time frame. Even if the person was not infected with the chickenpox virus from the exposure, receiving the vaccination will prevent future disease. If the child has previously had one dose of chickenpox vaccine, it is likely he/she will either not get chickenpox or only get very mild disease. However, to assure lasting immunity, a second dose should be given (see below).
Does my child need a second dose of varicella vaccine?
Yes! Fifteen to 20 percent of children who have received one dose of the vaccine are not fully protected and may develop chickenpox after coming in contact with varicella zoster virus. Additionally, one dose of the vaccine may not continue to provide protection into adulthood when chickenpox is more severe. A second dose of varicella vaccine provides increased protection against varicella disease compared to a single dose. In June 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) made policy changes for use of live attenuated varicella-containing vaccines for prevention of varicella. Changes include routine two-dose varicella vaccination of children and second dose catch-up varicella vaccination for children, adolescents and adults who previously had received only one dose. The ACIP also expanded recommendations for varicella-containing vaccines to promote wider use the the vaccine for adolescents, adults, and HIV- infected children.
How are chickenpox and shingles related?
The same virus causes both chickenpox and shingles. After a person has had chickenpox, the virus stays in the body permanently. About 10% - 20% of all people who have been infected with chickenpox later develop the disease known as herpes zoster, or shingles. Symptoms of shingles are pain, itching, blisters, and loss of feeling along a nerve. Most cases occur in persons older than 50, and the risk of developing shingles increases with age. There is now a vaccine designed for persons 50 years and older that can provide some protection against shingles and its consequences.
This fact sheet is for information only and is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the disease described above or think that you may have this infection, consult a health care provider.
Connecticut Department of Public Health
410 Capitol Avenue
P.O. Box 340308
Hartford, CT 06134-7929
Phone (860) 509-7929
Preventing the Flu
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 4 main ways you and your family may keep from getting sick with the flu at school and at home:
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder; not into your hands.
- Stay home if you or your child is sick for at least 24 hours after there is no longer a fever or signs of a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine). Keeping sick students at home means that they keep their viruses to themselves rather than sharing them with others
- Get your family vaccinated for seasonal flu.
If flu conditions become MORE severe, parents should consider the following steps:
- Extend the time sick children stay home for at least 7 days, even if they feel better sooner. People who are still sick after 7 days should continue to stay home until at least 24 hours after symptoms have completely gone away.
- If a household member is sick, keep any school-aged brothers or sisters home for 5 days from the time the household member became sick. Parents should monitor their health and the health of other school-aged children for fever and other symptoms of the flu.
Follow these steps to prepare for the flu during the school year:
- Plan for child care at home if your child gets sick or their school is dismissed.
- Plan to monitor the health of the sick child and any other children in the household by checking for fever and other symptoms of flu.
- Identify if you have children who are at higher risk of serious disease from the flu and talk to your healthcare provider about a plan to protect them during the flu season. Children at high risk of serious disease from the flu include: children under 5 years of age and those children with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma and diabetes.
- Identify a separate room in the house for the care of sick family members.
- Update emergency contact lists.
- Collect games, books, DVDs and other items to keep your family entertained if schools are dismissed or your child is sick and must stay home.
- Talk to your school administrators about their pandemic or emergency plan.
From time to time we find children in school with head lice. I ask that you take the time to inspect your child’s hair and scalp. After doing so, if you have any questions, please contact Mary Cadman our school nurse (435-0254 or 435-9871). This letter will give you the latest information concerning the subject.
Head lice continues to be one of the most prevalent communicable childhood diseases among American children, and outbreaks are possible wherever children gather. Screen your child regularly and notify us immediately if head lice are detected. Please contact your child’s physician if you have any questions. Working together helps protect all children, including your own. Thank you for your cooperation.
How You Get It: Head lice are usually transmitted through close personal contact with another infested individual or through use of shared combs, brushes, and other grooming aids; through sharing hats, caps, wigs, coats; or through co-mingling of these items at the homes of friends, at school, at church or other public places. Most parents have the impression that lice become established on persons who are unclean. In the case of head lice, this is NOT true. Frequent bathing will neither prevent head lice nor eliminate an infestation once it has become established.
What To Look For: Head lice are about the size of a sesame seed, usually brown, and move quickly away from light. Lice do not have wings and, therefore, cannot fly. They do not jump, but do move very quickly; this makes them difficult to find in a child’s hair.
Since crawling forms are so difficult to see, the diagnosis of head louse infestation is frequently made on the basis of finding nits. A nit is a louse egg. Nits are oval in shape, about this size ( ), and vary in color from yellowish to white. Head lice attach each nit to a hair shaft with a waterproof, cement-like substance. Clusters of nits may be found in any section of hair, but in mild infestations a careful examination of the entire scalp may be necessary to detect them.
Treatment: If you find your child with head lice please notify the school as soon as possible – this is very important. Treat your child with an over-the-counter lice treatment or consult your physician for his/her recommendation. Your child may return to school after he or she has been treated and has been cleared by the nurse for re-entry.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter. If you have any questions, please call.