• Nurse's Notes from Mrs. Grimes and Mrs. Martin

    Winter is almost over but the colds and other illnesses that attack school children are not. You don't want your child to miss school, but neither do you want to send a sick child to school and endanger him or her and other children as well. When should your child stay home from school? Here are a few guidelines you might wish to follow:

    • Runny nose is the way many children respond to pollen, dust, chalk, or simply a change of season. If it isn't a common cold, then it's probably an allergy and allergies aren't contagious. Don't keep your child home.

    • Cough, sore throat or cold symptoms can indicate a severe cold, bronchitis, flu, or even pneumonia. Many children average 6-8 colds per year. Your child may attend school as long as there is no fever. But if your child is not acting "right", has difficulty breathing or a persistent cough, it could be serious. If cold and cough symptoms do not improve or there is fever, call your doctor. A sore throat, in conjunction with fever and swollen glands, may indicate strep throat and will require treatment with an antibiotic. Children are no longer contagious after 24 hours on antibiotics and may return to school.

    • Stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhea make children very uncomfortable. A child with vomiting or diarrhea should be kept at home until symptoms have stopped for 24 hours and the child is able to keep down food and liquids. Call your doctor if fever and stomach pains continue or your child cannot drink liquids and becomes dehydrated. Remember to wash your hands frequently.

    • Fever is an important symptom and is generally a sign of infection. Make sure that you have a thermometer at home and can take your child's temperature. Most pediatricians advise parents to keep children home with and temperature over 100 degrees and for an additional 24 hours after the fever has passed. Call your doctor if the fever continues or if your child has other symptoms.

    • A Rash is usually a sign of viral illness. It also may be a reaction to a medicine or a chemical (plants, detergents). If your child has a rash, contact your doctor and keep your child home from school until it is determined that the rash is not contagious.

    • Red eyes may mean conjunctivitis or pink-eye, a common condition which may be contagious. When the white part of the eye appears red and produces a yellow or green crusty discharge, call your doctor for antibiotic eye ointment or drops. Your child may attend school after 24 hours of treatment. Remember to wash your hands frequently and give your child a separate towel and washcloth.

    • Pain- Children cannot concentrate on schoolwork when they are in pain. Earaches, toothaches, headaches need to be taken care of at home and your doctor consulted if they persist. Over-the- counter pain relievers are not available in the elementary schools.