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IMPORTANT - Illness Guidelines from Nurse Angie

posted Dec 18, 2016, 5:41 PM by David Lostetter

We are starting to see more cases of illness here at Woodland, including “stomach flu,” strep throat & influenza-like illness, which is typical for this time of year, so here are some guidelines and tips to help prevent the spread of illness & ensure your child is well enough to return to school.

Please keep your child home from school if they have:

Any FEVER in the past 24 hoursA fever is a body temperature over 100 degrees and is the body’s natural way of helping the immune system fight off infection. Fevers typically do NOT require fever-reducing medication such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin/Advil (ibuprofen), which just temporarily “mask or “cover-up” fever, making it more difficult to know when a child should be home resting to support the immune system’s fight against the infection.  It is generally advised to only give these medications if truly necessary, which your child’s health care provider can help you determine.  Fever-reducing medications have potential to actually prolong illness, as children often feel back to “normal” when the medication is working and do not get the adequate rest the body needs to fight the infection. Tylenol reduces fever for up to 6 hours and ibuprofen up to 8 hours, so in order to get an accurate body temperature, you need to wait until any fever-reducing medication has completely worn off.  It is also important to be aware that body temperature is always lower in the morning, so if your child has a temperature in the 99’s in the morning, they will likely have a fever by afternoon and should be kept home from school.

Any VOMITING OR DIARRHEA in the past 24 hours.  Gastrointestinal illnesses that cause vomiting or diarrhea tend to be quite contagious, so it is especially important to wait until there been NO vomiting or diarrhea for a full 24 hours before returning to school and to practice good handwashing!!

If your child has a fever and a persistent, red sore throat with NO nasal congestion, a strep test is recommended to determine if your child has strep throat.  Children should not return to school until they have been on antibiotics for 24 hours.  Rapid strep tests are often falsely negative, so if your child has these symptoms it is best to wait until the 24 hour culture is read before sending your child to school.

Influenza is a miserable illness and typically causes a sudden & rapid onset of moderate to high fever (101-104) with body aches and respiratory symptoms such as nasal congestion, cough, and sore throat. Children are often ill for a full week to 10 days. With influenza it is recommended to wait a full 48 after the fever has broken before return to school, as children often experience a relapse of symptoms after seeming better for 24 hours.  Be aware that antiviral medications are often prescribed to limit the severity and duration of influenza, but antivirals must be given within the first 48 hours of symptoms to be effective, so consult your health care provider right away if you suspect influenza. If your child has not already gotten a flu shot, it’s not too late & is highly recommended!

Remember that GOOD HANDWASHING is essential to help prevent the spread of illness. And plenty of SLEEP (10 hours for most elementary students) and GOOD NUTRITION limiting sugar and processed foods are keys to keeping the immune system strong & ready to fight the inevitable germs all around us.

Your efforts to help us maintain a healthy learning environment at Woodland are greatly appreciated!!