What is Chickenpox?
Chickenpox, also called varicella, is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus of the herpes zoster family.
How is Chickenpox spread?
It is spread by direct contact with an infected person or through the air when the infected person coughs or sneezes. Infected persons can spread the disease before they know they have it. In fact, people with chickenpox are contagious from about 2 days before the rash develops until ALL of the blister-like lesions have crusted over, usually 5-7 days after the rash appears.
What are the sypmptoms?
The incubation period for chickenpox is 10-21 days, which means that symptoms don't show up until 2-3 weeks after exposure. Toward the end of this period, the infected person may feel irritable, achy, and/or feverish. Next comes the rash or "pocks" of chickenpox. They usually start as small red spots on the trunk and/or face, but can spread over the entire body in the next 3-5 days. These lesions fill with fluid, rupture, and finally form crusts or scabs. These blisters are very itchy and may result in permanent scarring, especially if scratched. They may spread inside the mouth or other body openings, making the patient even more uncomfortable.
How is Chickenpox treated?
The usual treatments are aimed at making the infected person more comfortable, and including pain relievers, plenty of fluids, oatmeal baths, and topical medications designed to relieve itching. It will also help to keep your child's fingernails short and clean and encourage the wearing of loose fitting clothing.
Is Chickenpox contagious?
It is important that the infected person not have contact with others who have not had the disease until ALL of the sores have crusted over and started to heal. Please remember that this warning includes other shoppers at your grocery store, other children at the movie theatre, as well as others at school, daycare, or soccer practice.
DO NOT use Aspirin or any other remedies which contain aspirin or salicylates for fever or symptoms that accompany chickenpox or influenza!! Many drugs contain salicylates, therefore you MUST read all labels carefully.
Avoid the serious complications of Reye's Syndrome!!!
What is fifth disease?
Fifth disease is a mild rash illness that occurs most commonly in children. The ill child typically has a "slapped cheek" rash on the face and a lacy red rash on the trunk and limbs. Occasionally, the rash may itch. An ill child may have a low grade fever, malaise or a 'cold' a few days before the rash breaks out. The child is usually not very ill, and the rash resolves in 7-10 days.
What causes fifth disease?
Fifth disease is caused by infection with human parvovirus B19 This virus infects only humans Pet dogs or cats may be immunized against 'parvovirus', but these are animal parvoviruses that do not infect humans Therefore, a child cannot "catch" parvovirus from a pet dog or cat, and a pet dog or cat cannot catch human parvovirus B19 from an ill child.
Can adults get fifth disease?
Yes, they can. An adult who is not immune can be infected with parvovirus B19 and either have no symptoms or develop the typical rash of fifth disease, joint pain or swelling, or both. Usually, joints on both sides of the virus are affected. The joints most frequently affected are the hands, wrists and knees. The joint pain and swelling usually resolve in a week or two, but they may last several months. About 50% of adults, however, have been previously infected with parvovirus B19, have developed immunity to the virus, and cannot get fifth disease.
Is fifth disease contagious?
Yes. A person infected with parvovirus B19 is contagious during the early part of the illness, before the rash appears. By the time a child has the characteristic "slapped cheek" rash of fifth disease, for example, he or she is probably no longer contagious and may return to school or child care center. This contagious period is different than that for many other rash illnesses, such as measles, for which the child is contagious while he has the rash.
How does someone become infected with the parvovirus that causes fifth disease?
Parvovirus B19 has been found in the respiratory secretions (e.g. saliva, sputum or nasal mucus) of infected persons before the onset of the rash, when they appear to "just have a cold". The virus is probably spread from person to person by direct contact with those secretions, such as sharing drinking cups or utensils In a household, as many as 50% of susceptible persons exposed to a family member who has fifth disease may become infected. During school outbreaks, 10% to 60% of students may get fifth disease.
Does everyone who is infected with parvovirus B19 become ill?
No. During outbreaks of fifth disease, about 20% of adults and children who are infected with parvovirus B19 do not develop any symptoms. Furthermore, other persons infected with the virus will have non-specific illness that is not characteristic of fifth disease. Persons infected with the virus, however, do develop lasting immunity that protects them against infection in the future.
How is fifth disease diagnosed?
A physician can often diagnose fifth disease by seeing the typical rash during a physical examination. In cases in which it is important to confirm the diagnosis, a blood test may be done to look for antibodies to parvovirus. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to parvovirus B19 and other germs. If immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody to parvovirus B19 is detected, the test result suggests that the person has had a recent infection.
How soon after infection with parvovirus B19 does a person become ill?
A susceptible person usually becomes ill 4 to 14 days after being infected with the virus, but may become ill for as long as 20 days after infection.
How are parvovirus B19 infections treated?
Treatment of symptoms such as fever, pain or itching is usually all that is needed for fifth disease. Adults with joint pain and swelling may need to rest, restrict their activities and take medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve symptoms. The few people who have severe anemia caused by parvovirus B19 infection may need to be hospitalized and receive blood transfusions. Persons with immune problems may need special medical care, including treatment with immune globulin (antibodies), to help their bodies get rid of the infection.
Can parvovirus B19 infection be prevented?
There is no vaccine or medicine that prevents parvovirus B19 infection. Frequent hand washing is recommended as a practical and probably effective method to decrease the chance of becoming infected. Excluding persons with fifth disease from work, child care centers, or schools is not likely to prevent the spread of the virus, since people are contagious before they develop the rash.
Is fifth disease serious?
Fifth disease is usually a mild illness that resolves on its own among children and adults who are otherwise healthy. Joint pain and swelling in adults usually resolve without long-term disability.
Parvovirus B19 infection may cause a serious illness in persons with sickle-cell disease or similar types of chronic anemia. In such persons, parvovirus B19 can cause an acute, severe anemia. The ill person may be pale, weak, and tired and should see his or her physician for treatment (The typical rash of fifth disease is rarely seen in these persons.) Once the infection is controlled, the anemia resolves. Furthermore, persons who have problems with their immune systems may also develop a chronic anemia with parvovirus B19 infection that requires medical treatment. People who have leukemia or cancer, who are born with immune deficiencies, who have received an organ transplant, or who have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are at risk for serious illness due to parvovirus B19 infection.
Occasionally, serious complications may develop from parvovirus B19 infection during pregnancy For details, please see the CDC information sheet entitled "Parvovirus B19 Infection and Pregnancy".
Where can you get more information?
Your family doctor, school nurse and the staff at the local health department are excellent sources of information on all communicable diseases.
Parents of students with a communicable or contagious diseases are asked to telephone the school Health Office so that other students who have been exposed to the disease Students with diseases are not allowed to come to school while they are contagious.
What is the Flu?
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The virus attacks the nose, throat, and lungs. It is not the "stomach flu." The flu can be prevented by vaccination.
How is flu spread?
The flu is spread when an infected person who has the flu coughs or sneezes and sends the flu virus into the air. The virus enters the nose, throat, or lungs of a person and multiplies. Flu also spreads (though less likely) when a person touches the surface of an object that has flu viruses on it. The virus then enters the body when the person rubs his or her nose.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
Symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches. Children can have additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
What should you do if you get the flu?
If you have the flu (or a temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher)
•· Stay at home
•· Drink plenty of fluids
•· Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing
•· Wash your hands frequently
If symptoms get worse seek medical attention. Parents should contact their health care provider immediately if they have concerns about their child's recovery. This would include a child having problems breathing, being too sleepy, or not taking enough fluids.
DO NOT give aspirin to children for treatment of flu symptoms because the risk of REYE SYNDROME, an acute and potentially life-threatening condition that results when children take aspirin or aspirin-containing products during certain viral illnesses.
Can the flu be prevented?
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. October or November is the best time to get vaccinated, but getting vaccinated in December or even later can still be beneficial, because influenza activity typically occurs in January or later.
Other measures include:
•· Avoid close contact with people who are sick
•· Stay home from work or school when you are sick
•· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
•· Wash your hands often with soap and water
•· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, thus reducing the spread of germs
Who should get vaccinated?
Influenza vaccine is recommended for:
•· All children age 6 through 59 months
•· People who care for children for children 0 - 5 years of age
•· People of any age who have medical conditions that place them at risk for serious influenza-related complications.
Who else should get vaccinated?
In general, anyone, including school-aged children, who want to reduce their chances of getting the flu. However, it is recommended by the ACIP that certain people should get vaccinated each year. They are either people that are at high risk of having serious flu complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious complications. During flu seasons when vaccine supplies are limited or delayed, ACIP makes recommendations regarding priority groups for vaccination.
1. People at high risk for complications from the flu, including:
o Pregnant women
o People 50 years of age and older
o People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
o People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities
2. People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from the flu, including:
o Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications for the flu (see above)
o Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
o Healthcare workers
Should all children be vaccinated?
The flu shot is not approved for use in children less than 6 months old. Children under 6 months old can still get very sick from the flu, but they are too young to get a flu vaccine. The best way to protect young children is to make sure that their household members and their caregivers are vaccinated.
Is the flu vaccine safe?
The risk of the flu vaccine causing serious harm, or death is extremely small. However, like any medicine, a vaccine may rarely cause serious problems, such as allergic reactions. Almost all people who get influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it.
What are the side effects that could occur?
•· Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
•· Low-grade fever
Is the flu dangerous?
Children less than 2 years old - even healthy children-are at high risk of ending up in the hospital if they get the flu. Vaccinating young children, their families, and other caregivers can help protect them from getting sick. Children may get sinus problems and ear infections as complications from the flu.
Where can I get more information?
Call your doctor, school nurse or local health department, or the Texas Department of State Health Services, Immunization Branch at (800) 252-9152.
What is Gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis is sometimes called the stomach bug or also the stomach flu. It is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
What causes Gastroenteritis?
Many different viruses can cause gastroenteritis including rotaviruses, adenoviruses and astroviruses. It is not caused by the influenza viruses, although it is often called the 'stomach flu".
How is Gastroenteritis spread?
Viral gastroenteritis IS CONTAGIOUS. It is spread through close contact with infected persons, contact with contaminated surfaces, or by eating or drinking contaminated foods or beverages.
What are the symptoms?
Gastroenteritis can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea and may or may not be accompanied by fever, headache, stomach pain, or abdominal cramps.
How is Gastroenteritis treated?
It is important to keep hydrated. Clear fluids should be consumed for the first 24 hours. Clear fluids are anything you can see through. Popsicles and jell-o work well, since they are ingested slowly. Be careful, drinking too much fluid too quickly will distend the stomach and worsen the nausea. As food is tolerated, gradually reintroduce food starting with a soft-bland solid diet.
How can Gastroenteritis be prevented?
The chances of getting infected can be greatly reduced by frequent and thorough hand washing, prompt disinfection of soiled surfaces and clothing, and avoiding food or water suspected of being contaminated. Persons MUST remain at home until 24 hours after all symptoms of illness have ceased.
How serious is Gastroenteritis?
Though most people who get gastroenteritis recover completely without any long term problems, it can lead to serious illness for persons who cannot drink enough fluids to replace what they lose through vomiting and diarrhea. They may need to be hospitalized for treatment to correct or prevent dehydration. Those at greatest risk for this include infants, young children, the disabled and the elderly. There are many causes of gastroenteritis including medications, certain medical conditions, bacteria or parasites, but most frequently the cause is viral.
Where can you get more information?
Your family doctor, your school nurse and the local health department are excellent sources for information of all communicable diseases.
Parents of students with a communicable or contagious disease are asked to telephone the shcool Health Office so that other students who have been exposed to the disease can be alerted. Students with disease are not allowed to come to school while they are contagious.
What is Head Lice?
The head louse is a grey-white insect about 2-3 mm in length. The life span of the female louse is about one month. During this time, she will produce between seven to 10 eggs ("nits") per day. These nits are attached to the hair shaft close to the scalp. The nits resemble dandruff and are attached to the hair shaft with a glue like substance that does not break down in water. Six to ten days after a nit is attached to the hair shaft, the nits hatch, becoming nymphs. In another 10 days the nymphs become adults.
How does Head Lice spread?
Head lice are most commonly spread through head to head contact. Sharing of items (such as hats, headphones, combs, and brushes) that typically come in contact with the head on a daily basis are the easiest ways to transmit head lice.
What are the symptoms of Head Lice?
Head lice can cause your head to feel itchy. If this is the case, it may feel worse behind your ears or on the back of your neck. In some cases you may not feel itching at all. You may notice nits stuck to hair shafts or pillows being dirtier than normal due to louse droppings.
How is Head Lice treated?
Treat your child's hair with a pediculocide or lice-killing shampoo.You may get this from your family health care provider or your local pharmacy. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS EXACTLY AND REPEAT THE TREATMENT IN 7-10 DAYS!! While the medicated shampoo rapidly kills live lice, it will not kill all of the eggs. After shampooing, ALL EGGS SHOULD BE COMBED OR PICKED OUT OF THE HAIR or they will hatch and cause reinfestation. Remember to wash yours and your child's hands thoroughly, especially under the nails. In addition to this treatment, please wash or dry-clean your child's sheets, towels, coats, hats, sweaters, combs and brushes. Furniture, rugs and floors must be vacuumed and the bag discarded. Toys and unwashable items should be placed in plastic bags for 10-14 days.
Upon completion of treatment, please accompany your child to the office, where he/she will be checked by the Health Office or other designated school personnel. While we continue to teach that head lice infestation is very common in the school population and is in no way an indicator of cleanliness or hygiene practices, we realize that there remains a stigma associated with it. Please be assured that as with any health concern, this matter is treated as confidentially as possible.
Please continue to examine your child's scalp and hair closely for the next few weeks, as early identification and thorough treatment are our most effective methods of controlling outbreaks of lice in the school. Using a bright light, examine your child's head closely. Lice are gray to brown in color and about the size of a sesame seed (--). They lay their eggs near the scalp, where they appear as tiny white to tan specks on the hair strand. Because lice travel so quickly, you are less likely to see live lice themselves.
Remember, head lice should be nothing to be embarrassed about. With early identification and treatment, head lice CAN be controlled. If you have any questions, please call the school Health Office.
How can Head Lice be prevented?
Looking for head lice on a regular basis is the best prevention. Early detection and removal is key to prevent spreading. To prevent further infestation, washing clothes, bed linens, combs, and brushes is recommended.
Is there a need to seek additional medical attention for Head Lice?
Head lice is easily and effectively treated with over the counter treatments. These treatments, on occasion, can cause an allergic reaction (such as a rash, swelling of the lips or tongue, or trouble breathing). In these cases, you should call your physician for further advice.
Where can you get more information?
Your family doctor, the school nurse and the staff at the local health department are excellent sources for information on communicable diseases. You can also go to www.pediculosis.org (Head Lice is aka pediculosis) for more information.
Head Lice Screening
Quick and thorough treatment is the only way of controlling head lice. If the campus nurse finds evidence of head lice, the student will be excluded from school and readmitted when appropriate treatment has taken place. The health office may screen siblings and/or other students in the same classroom, as soon as possible. The student will be checked again before entering into the classroom. The student will be reassessed for lice again seven (7) to ten (10) days after the initial treatment. If signs of lice are found at this reassessment, the student will be excluded from school again to be retreated. Procedure and policy are obtained from The Texas Department of State Health Services recommendations for the prevention of head lice (pediculosis) http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/schoolhealth/lice.shtm
It is extremely important to follow all recommended treatment directions. Failure to do so may result in the student being excluded from school as long as the problem exists. This matter is treated as confidentially as possible, but parents must cooperate in reporting to the school if there is evidence of head lice. Not reporting the problem can result in spreading it further.
What is Meningitis?
Meningitis is an inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. It can be cause by viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria. Viral meningitis is the most common and the least serious. Bacterial meningitis is the most common form of serious bacterial infection with the potential for serious, long-term complications. It is an uncommon disease, but requires urgent treatment with antibiotics to prevent permanent damage or death.
How is Bacterial Meningitis spread?
Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as diseases like the common cold or flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. The germs live naturally in the back of our noses and throats, but they do not live long outside the body. They are spread when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing, sharing drinking containers, utensils or cigarettes). The germ does not cause meningitis in most people. Instead, most people become a carrier of the germ for days, weeks or even months. The bacteria rarely overcomes the body's immune system and causes meningitis or another serious illness.
How is Viral Meningitis spread?
Different viruses that cause viral meningitis are spread in different ways. Enteroviruses, the most common cause of viral meningitis, are most often spread through direct contact with an infected person's stool. The virus is spread through this route mainly among small children who are not yet toilet trained. It can also be spread this way to adults changing the diapers of an infected infant.
Enteroviruses and other viruses (such as mumps and varicella-zoster virus) can also be spread through direct or indirect contact with respiratory secretions (saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus) of an infected person. This usually happens through kissing or shaking hands with an infected person or by touching something they have handled and then rubbing your own nose or mouth. The viruses can also stay on surfaces for days and can be transferred from objects. Viruses also can spread directly when infected people cough or sneeze and send droplets containing the virus into the air we breathe.
The time from when a person is infected until they develop symtoms (incubation period) is usually between 3 and 7 days for enteroviruses. An infected person is usually contagious from the time they develop symptoms until the symptoms go away.
What are the symptoms of Bacterial Meningitis?
Someone with meningitis will become very ill. The illness may develop over one or two days but can also rapidly progress in a matter of hours. Not everyone with meningitis will have the same symptoms. Children (over 1 year old) and adults with meningitis may have a severe headache, high temperature, vomiting, sensitivity to bright lights, neck stiffness or joint pains, and drowsiness or confusion. In both children and adults, there may be a rash of tiny red-purple spots. These can occur anywhere on the body. The diagnosis of bacterial meningitis is based on a combination of symptoms and laboratory results.
What are the symptoms of Viral Meningitis?
Symptoms can appear quickly or they can also take several days to appear, usually after a cold or runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting, or other signs of infection show up. Symptoms in adults may differ from those in children. The symptoms can included fever, severe headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright light, sleepiness, nausea, or lack of appetite.
How is Meningitis treated?
Treatment for viral meningitis is less aggressive than that of bacterial meningitis. It often consists of use of acetaminophen or other similar pain medications used to make the effected person more comfortable. Bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, often requires admittance to the hospital for observation and subsequent treatment as needed.
How can Bacterial Meningitis be prevented?
Do not share food, drinks, utensils, toothbrushes or cigarettes. Limit the number of persons you kiss. While there are vaccines for some of the strains of bacterial meningitis, they are used only in special circumstances. These include when there is a disease outbreak in a community or for people traveling to a country where there is a high risk of getting the disease. Also a vaccine is recommended for college students, particularly freshmen living in dorms or residence halls. It can cause mild side effects, such as redness and pain at the injection site, lasting up to 2 days. Immunity develops within seven to ten days after the vaccine is given and lasts for up to five years.
How can Viral Meningitis be prevented?
Following good hygiene practices can reduce the spread of viruses, such as enteroviruses, herpesviruses, and measles and mumps viruses. Preventing the spread of virus can be difficult, especially since sometimes people are infected with a virus (like an enterovirus) but do not appear sick. In such cases, infected people can still spread the virus to others. Thus, it is important to always practice good hygiene to help reduce your chances of becoming infected with a virus or of passing one on to someone else.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
- Clean contaminated surfaces with soap and water
- Cover you cough
- Avoid kissing or sharing a drinking glass, eating utensil, lipstick or other such item with sick people.
- Getting vaccinations included the childhood vaccination schedule (MMR and Varicella-Zoster)
- Avoid bites from mosquitoes and other insects that carry diseases
- Clean up anything in and around your home that could invite rodent infestation.
How serious is Meningitis?
Viral ("aseptic") meningitis is serious but rarely fatal in people with normal immune systems. Usually, the symptoms last from 7 to 10 days and the patient recovers completely. Bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, can be very serious and result in disability or death if not treated promptly. Often, the symptoms of viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis are the same. For this reason, if you think you or your child has meningitis, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Where can I get more information?
Your school nurse, family doctor, and the staff at your local health department are excellent sources of information on all communicable diseases. You may also call your doctor, health department or school nurse for information on the meningococcal vaccine.
Parents of students with a communicable or contagious disease are asked to telephone the school nurse so that other students who have been exposed to the disease can be alerted. Students with communicable disease are not allowed to come to school while they are contagious.
What is Mononucleosis?
Infectious Mononucleosis, sometimes called 'mono' or the 'kissing disease', is an infection that is usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). EBV is very common. Most people become infected with it at some point in their lives, but not everyone develops mono when they get infected. Most of the people who do get the illness are between the ages of 15 and 25; children usually don't have symptoms of mono when they are infected with EBV. A case of mono can keep you out of commission for weeks.
How is Mono spread?
One common way to "catch" mono is by kissing someone who has been infected, which is how the illness got its nickname. You can also get mononucleosis through other types of direct contact with saliva from someone infected with the virus, such as by sharing a straw or an eating utensil. Some people who have the virus in their bodies never have any symptoms, but you may still pick up the virus from them. In fact, experts believe that EBV often spreads from people who have it but don't have mono. Someone who does have mono is most contagious while he or she has a fever.
What are the symptoms of Mono?
Symptoms usually appear 4 to 7 weeks after you have been infected with the virus. Signs that you have mono include: being tired all the time, fever, sore throat, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes (also called glands, located in your neck, underarms and groin), headaches, sore muscles, skin rash, larger than normal liver and spleen, and abdominal pain.
People who have mono may have a different combinations of these symptoms, and some people may have symptoms so mild that they hardly notice them. Others may have no symptoms at all. Even if you have several of these symptoms DO NOT try to diagnosis yourself, always consult your family doctor. To help make a diagnosis, the doctor may want to take some blood tests to determine if mono is causing your symptoms.
How is Mono treated?
There is no cure for mono, but the good news is that even if you do nothing, the illness will go away by itself, usually in 3 to 4 weeks. Because mono is caused by a virus, antibiotics won't help unless you have secondary infection like strep throat. In fact, certain antibiotics can even cause a rash if you take them while you have mono.
Although there are no magic pills for mono, you can do some things to feel better. The best treatment is to get plenty of rest, especially during the beginning stages of the illness when your symptoms are the worst. Put yourself to bed and pass on school, sports, and that party you wanted to go to.
For the fever and the aching muscles try Tylenol or Advil or Motrin. (Steer clear of aspirin unless your doctor tells you take it - it's been linked to a serious disease in kids and teens called Reye Syndrome, which can lead to liver failure and death.) If you have a sore throat, chew gum, drink tea with honey, or suck on hard candy or Popsicles. Even if you're not hungry, try to eat a well-balanced diet and drink lots of water and juices to prevent dehydrated.
When you start feeling better, take it slowly. Although you can return to school once your fever disappears, you may still feel tired. Your body will tell you when it's time to rest - listen to it. By taking good care of yourself and resting as much as you need to, you will soon be back to normal, usually within a few weeks.
How can Mono be prevented?
Wash your hands often, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and keep your drinks and eating utensils to yourself. Also, do not use other people's eating utensils or drink from their cups.
How serious is Mono?
Over 95% of people infected with Mononucleosis recover normally in 2 to 4 weeks. Although complications are uncommon, they may be life-threatening. Seek additional medical attention if you experience any of the following while recovering from Mono: difficulty breathing, severe sore throat, abdominal pain, or severe headaches).
Where can you get more information?
Your family doctor, school nurse and the local health department are excellent sources for information on all communicable diseases.
Parents of students with a communicable or contagious disease are asked to telephone the school health office so that other students that have been exposed may be alerted. Students with diseases are not allowed to come to school while they are contagious.
||Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
What is Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)?
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the thin, transparent outer layer of the eyeball and the inner surface of the eyelids.
How is pink eye spread?
Conjunctivitis (pink eye) spread by direct contact with discharge from the eye or nasal discharge from the infected person.
If you suspect conjunctivitis, please keep your child at home and contact your primary care provider. Only a physician can determine if the conjunctivitis is infectious or not. Children with infectious conjunctivitis are considered contagious until 24 hours after treatment is began and must be excluded from school until then.
What are the symptoms?
The inflammation causes redness, tearing, burning or itching, and occasionally formation of pus that may cause the eyelids to stick together when the child awakens in the morning. Because of the redness, it is commonly called pink eye. The most common causes are bacteria, viruses and allergy. The first two are quite contagious.
How is it treated?
Treatment of conjunctivitis depends on the cause. Treatments can range from simply keeping the eye clean and free from foreign objects in the case if irritant caused conjunctivitis to eye drops, ointments or other antibiotics when caused by bacteria. Proper diagnosis of the cause of conjunctivitis by your primary care provider is necessary to determine the appropriate treatment.
How can it be prevented?
Conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Careful hand washing is our best defense in preventing the spread of conjunctivitis. Towels and other objects used by the child should not be shared with others. Eye make-up and contact lenses should not be worn while the eyes are inflamed. Any eye make-up or contact lenses used prior to treatment should be discarded.
How serious is pink eye?
Conjunctivitis is a self-limited disease that is not a serious health risk if diagnosed quickly. It will usually clear up after a course of antibiotics or on its own. There are, however, certain forms of conjunctivitis that can become serious and sight-threatening. Consulting you primary care provider can help ensure appropriate treatment.
Where can you get more information?
Your school nurse, family doctor and the staff at your local health department are excellent sources for information on all communicable diseases.
What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is a contagious fungus infection that can affect the scalp, the body and the feet (athlete's foot), or the nails. Despite the name, it has NOTHING to do with worms. The name comes from the characteristic red ring that can appear on an infected person's skin. Ringworm is also called tinea.
How is Ringworm spread?
People can get ringworm from direct skin to skin contact with an infected person or pet, indirect contact with an object or surface that an infected person or pet has touched, or rarely, by contact with soil. Ringworm can be treated with a fungus-killing medicine, such as Lotrimin.
What are the the symptoms?
Ringworm of the scalp usually begins as a small pimple that becomes larger, leaving scaly patches of temporary baldness. Infected hairs become brittle and break off easily. Yellowish crusty areas sometimes develop. Scalp ringworm usually appears 10 to 14 days after contact.
Ringworm of the body shows up as a flat, round patch anywhere on the scalp except for the scalp and feet. As the rash expands, its center clears to produce a ring. More than one patch might appear, and the patches can overlap. This area is sometimes itchy. The time between exposure and symptoms is not known.
Ringworm of the foot is also called athlete's foot. It appears as a scaling and cracking of the skin, especially between the toes.
Ringworm of the nails causes the affected nails to become thicker, discolored, and brittle, or to become chalky and disintegrate.
How is Ringworm treated?
Ringworm can be treated with fungus-killing medicine. The medicine can be taken in tablet or liquid form by mouth or as a cream applied directly to the affected area. Lack of or inadequate treatment can result in an infection that will not clear. Please finish all medications as prescribed by your physician. Student with ringworm of the scalp (Tinea Capitis) will be excluded from school until a doctor's note and proof of treatment is provided to the school health office.
How can it be prevented?
To prevent ringworm, 1) make sure all infected persons and pets get appropriate treatment, 2) avoid contact with infected persons and pets, 3) do not share personal items, and 4) keep common use areas clean.
How serious is Ringworm?
Although most infections can be treated at home, you should consult your primary care provider if symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks of treatment with over the counter anti-fungal medications.
Where can you get more information?
Your school nurse, family doctor and the local health department are excellent sources for information on all communicable diseases.
What is Scarlet Fever?
Scarlet fever is strep throat with a rash. It most commonly occurs in children between the ages of 2 and 10, but can affect all ages. It is caused by the streptococcal bacteria.
How is Scarlet Fever spread?
Scarlet fever can be passed from person to person. Strep bacteria is released into the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. The bacteria released into the air is then breathed in by others.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms usually develop about 1-7 days after being exposed to someone with strep throat or scarlet fever.
Scarlet fever is most common in children under 10 years old and begins with a fever and sore throat. Other symptoms can include vomiting, headache, chills and abdominal pain. Many children with this infection have a high fever initially, which may reach 103-104 degrees. Without treatment, the fever may last 5-7 days, but usually quickly goes down within a day of starting antibiotic therapy.
After 12-48 hours of developing symptoms, your child will then develop a red rash, which consists of very small red bumps that begin on the neck and groin and then spreads to the rest of the body. The rash has the characteristic feel of sandpaper and typically lasts five to six days. The rash is sometimes worse on the neck, elbow creases, arm pits (axilla) and groin and once the rash fades, the skin may peel. The peeling may last up to six weeks.
Although the sandpapery rash does not usually appear on the face, your child's forehead and cheeks may appear red and flushed. In addition, there is usually a pale area around the mouth. Another common finding is dark, hyper pigmented areas on the skin, especially in the skin creases.
The fever and rash is usually accompanied by a red, swollen throat and tonsils that can have a white coating of pus, swollen glands, decreased appetite and energy level. Another common finding is a red and swollen tongue. At first, the tongue usually also has a white coating on it, and with the red swollen papillae of the tongue protruding through this white coating, it gives the appearance of a strawberry tongue.
How is it treated?
Your child will need to follow up with their doctor is you suspect they have scarlet fever. A throat swab may be completed to confirm the presence of strept throat. Your doctor will then prescribe antibiotics. It is very important that your child complete the antibiotics are completed as ordered by the doctor.
How can Scarlet Fever be prevented?
It is always a good idea to avoid contact with anyone who has scarlet fever. Be sure to wash your hands often, don't share eating utensils, glasses, or toothbrushes.
How serious is Scarlet Fever?
Scarlet fever can be treated with antibiotics in most cases. There are some severe complications that can occur. They include infection of the middle ear, sinusitis, pneumonia, rheumatic fever or rheumatic heart disease. Your primary care provider should be consulted to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.
Where can I get more information?
Your family physician, school nurse and local health department are excellent sources of information on communicable diseases.
What is a Staph Infection?
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria that many people carry on their skin and in their noses without getting sick. A staph infection is caused when this bacteria enters the body through punctured or broken skin. Staph infections can vary in severity from simple boils to antibiotic-resistant infections to flesh-eating infections.
How are Staph Infections spread?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20-35% of adults and children in the are "colonized" with staph aureus. This means that the bacteria are always present, but do not cause illness. Most infections occur through direct physical contact, when the staph bacteria enter a break in the skin (cut, scrape or insect bite). The bacterium is not carried through the air and is not found in dirt or mud. The main mode of transmission is by the hands. Therefore...........
HAND WASHING IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT BEHAVIOR IN PREVENTING INFECTIOUS DISEASE!!!!!
What are the symptoms of Staph Infections?
Staph aureus commonly causes skin infections that look like a pimple or boil and are often mistaken for insect or spider bites. They may be red, warm to touch, swollen, painful and/or have pus or other drainage.
How are Staph Infections treated?
These infections are usually easy to treat with inexpensive, well tolerated antibiotics. Some staph bacteria, however, such as methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA), have developed resistance: that is, the antibiotics can no longer kill the bacteria. Treatment for MRSA may be longer, more complicated, more expensive and the infection more likely to reappear. Staph bacteria may also cause more serious infections such as bloodstream infections and pneumonias. For this reason, all suspicious wounds or sores should be evaluated by your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
How can Staph Infections be prevented?
Please note the following recommendations for prevention and review with your family. If you have questions or would like more information, contact your school health office.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PREVENTING THE TRANSMISSION OF STAPH/MRSA INFECTION
1. Practice good hygiene. Keep hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water before eating, after coughing or sneezing, after going to the bathroom, and after contact with soiled surfaces. The use of an alcohol based hand sanitizer is also recommended when soap and water are not available.
2. Any student with an open lesion or sore should be evaluated by a physician. Inform your physician of the possibility of MRSA.
3. Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with proper dressings until healed. Schedule dressing changes to be done at home, to prevent the uncovering of the wound at school.
4. Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages.
5. Clothing and linens should not be shared.
6. Shower daily using an antibacterial soap. Do not share towels, soap or other personal care items.
7. Report all cases of infectious disease to the school health office.
How serious are Staph Infections?
Staph bacteria may cause more serious infections such as bloodstream infections and pneumonias. For this reason, all suspicious wounds or sores should be evaluated by your healthcare provider as soon as possible .
Where can you get more information?
Your family doctor, your school nurse and the local health department are excellent sources for information on all communicable diseases.
What is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is a bacterial infection affecting the throat and tonsils. It is caused by streptococcal bacteria.
How is Strep Throat spread?
Strep throat is spread by direct, close contact with an infected person, usually via coughing or sneezing. While strep throat may be no more severe than the sore throat that accompanies the common cold, it can become serious.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of strep throat may include some or all of the following: red, sore throat with or without white patches on the tonsils, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, fever and headache. Nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain are also common and are more likely to occur in children.
If your child complains of any of the above symptoms, you should contact your family physician. If your child is diagnosed with strep throat he/she MUST stay home until 24 hours after beginning treatment. Antibiotic treatment will reduce symptoms, minimize transmission (spread) and reduce the chance of complications. Although symptoms subside soon after beginning treatment, it is very important to complete the full course of antibiotics to prevent complications or re-infection. Please remember to discard and replace your child's toothbrush as well, to decrease the likelihood of re-infection.
How is Strep Throat treated?
Strep throat will go away with or without treatment in 3 to 7 days; however, if left untreated Strep could cause damage to the heart and/or kidneys. Antibiotics are used to help prevent spreading the disease to others. Antibiotics also help to reduce risk of the infection spreading to other parts of the body.
How can Strep Throat be prevented?
To help lessen the spread of this or any communicable disease, remind your child of the importance of frequent, thorough hand washing and covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
How serious is Strep Throat?
Strep Throat rarely has complications associated with it. If not treated properly with antibiotics, complications can occur as a result of the strep infection or in response to the body's immune reaction to the strep infection .
Where can you get more information?
Your family doctor, school nurse and the staff at the local health department are excellent sources for information on all communicable diseases.
What are Viral Infections or Illnesses?
Viral infections are the usual causes of colds, coughs, fevers, rashes, most sore throats, most ear aches, influenza (the Flu), gastroenteritis, diarrhea and vomiting. Most viral infections are mild and do not last long, but they can be painful and make you feel very ill. The usual viral illnesses have the following things in common:
- They are self-limiting. They will get better without treatment.
- They are resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotics are of no help in treatment.
How are Viral Infections spread?
Depending on the specific virus, infections can be air borne, animal borne, food borne, blood borne or water borne. Prevention measures are the best way to avoid viral illness.
What are the Symptoms?
You may have fever, chills, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, red, watery eyes, headache, decreased appetite, muscle aches, decreased activity, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea, coughing, and rashes.
How can Viral Infections be prevented?
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. You can pick up germs easily, even when shaking someone's hand or touching doorknobs or handrails.
- Avoid people with colds when possible.
- If you sneeze or cough, do it into a tissue and then throw the tissue away.
- Blow your nose with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
- Clean surfaces touched with a germ-killing disinfectant.
- Don't touch your nose, eyes or mouth. Germs can enter your body easily by these paths.
How can I treat the symptoms?
Drink plenty of cool, clear fluids. When ill, you may not feel like eating solid foods, but you need to drink to avoid dehydration.
If you have a stuffy nose, sore throat or cough, use a cool-mist humidifier.
Make sure you get plenty of rest.
Treat fevers with Motrin or Tylenol (do not give aspirin) as directed. Do not send your child to school with a fever .
When should I see a doctor?
If your child's breathing is heavy or labored. If you develop new symptoms or pains, including a stiff neck. If your child looks or act sicker, is very sleepy or very irritable. If your child's fever lasts more than 2-3 days. If your child appears dehydrated (no tears when cries, no urine for 6 or more hours, looks like lost weight, acts tired and will not play for even a short while).
Where can I get more information?
Your f amily doctor, school nurse or the staff at the local health department are excellent sources of information on all communicable diseases.
What is Pertussis (Whooping Cough)?
Pertussis (WHOOPING COUGH) is a very contagious disease that is spread through the air by cough. It is caused by the bacteria, Bordatella pertussis. Pertussis is usually mild in older children and adults, but often causes serious problems in children under 1 year of age.
How is Pertussis spread?
Pertussis is an air borne illness. When people with Pertussis cough or sneeze tiny droplets of fluid containing bacteria enter the air. Others can inhale the droplets or get them on their hands or other objects that come into contact with their mouth or nose.
What are the symptoms?
Pertussis symptoms appear 5 - 21 days after infection. Usually only close contacts of students with pertussis become infected. The first stage of pertussis begins with cold-like symptoms (sneezing and a runny nose) and a cough that becomes much worse over 1-2 weeks. In the second stage, the cough usually occurs in strong uncontrolled coughing spasms ("coughing fits"). In young children, this is often followed by a whooping noise as they try to catch their breath. After coughing, a person may have difficulty "catching their breath", vomit, or become blue in the face from lack of air. Between coughing spells, the person may appear well. There is generally no fever. The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not help alleviate the cough. This stage can last 6 weeks or longer. Adults, teens, and vaccinated children often have milder symptoms that mimic bronchitis or asthma.
How is Pertussis treated?
Pertussis is treated with antibiotics. These antibiotics can make symptoms less severe and help prevent spreading the disease. Additional comfort can be gained by keeping hydrated and through the use of a humidifier.
How can Pertussis be prevented?
Although pertussis vaccine is available, it cannot be given after 7 years of age. Vaccine protection begins to fade in older children and adults.
Please consider the following health recommendations:
- If you or your child has had close contact with someone diagnosed with pertussis discuss antibiotic therapy with your child's private physician to prevent illness.
- If your child comes down with cold symptoms that include a cough, talk to your child's doctor without delay. Tell him/her that there has been pertussis identified in your child's school. Report possible pertussis infections to the local health department.
- Infants under one year of age, and particularly under 6 months, are most likely to experience severe illness if they develop pertussis. When possible, young infants should be kept away from people with a cough. Infants with any coughing illness should be promptly evaluated by their doctor.
- If you have children less than 7 years of age who have not been completely vaccinated for pertussis (particularly infants under one year), talk to your child's doctor about the benefits of vaccination. Pertussis given along with diphtheria and tetanus vaccine in the same shot (called DTaP or DTP). DTaP is given at 2, 4, 6, and 15 months of age, and again when a child enters school.
How serious is Pertussis?
Pertussis treatment procedures have made complications from Pertussis less likely than in the past. Complications such as pneumonia, pulmonary hypertension, ear infections, seizures, weight loss, dehydration and/or other exertion-related injuries can result from severe coughing.