Washoe Country School District
Healthy Students, Healthy Schools
Don't Procrastinate Vaccinate!
Student Health Services is reaching out with a reminder to parents and the community: All students entering 7th grade must get a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) booster shot before they can enter school in the fall. Immunize Nevada is hosting a series of Tdap clinics over the next several weeks. The public is invited to these clinics to receive Tdap shots. A small fee may apply for those receiving immunizations.
Information about Norovirus and Sapovirus
1. An individual who has norovirus or sapovirus can be infectious for 72 hours or more after they recover.
Information about WCSD Exclusion Policy (11/8/12)
Germs and Critters
The health professionals at the Washoe County School District’s Student Health Services Department are dedicated to keeping students healthy and learning-ready.
With 63,000 students and more than 7,000 staff members spending time at Washoe County schools each day, keeping the school environment safe and healthy can be quite a challenge. There are always germs being passed around from person to person, in the classroom, the cafeteria, on the bus, and every other area of the campus. In fact, every day in most schools there are students and staff who are diagnosed with colds, flu, strep throat, head lice and many other contagious conditions.
We can’t eliminate germs and head lice entirely, but by working together with parents and families, we can reduce the spread of illness, improve attendance, increase graduation rates, and give each student the best opportunity to become a successful and healthy adult.
Here’s what you can do to help prevent and control the spread of infection and ensure he or she has a healthy and successful academic year:
• Make sure your child’s immunizations are current. There are still cases of serious diseases like chicken pox, polio, and pertussis (whooping cough) occurring in communities across the country. Vaccines protect your child, your family, and our entire community from the serious side effects of these diseases. For on-line information about vaccine recommendations, go to http://www.co.washoe.nv.us/health/cchs/imm.html
• Clean hands save lives! Hand-washing is the most effective way to “break” the chain of infection between one person and another. Encourage your child to scrub his or her hands with soap and water after using the bathroom and before eating, for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song. For more tips on hand washing, go to http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/
• Teach your child good health habits. Even young children can be taught to “cough or sneeze in your sleeve!” The video on this web site is designed to show children just what that slogan means. http://www.vdh.state.va.us/epidemiology/DiseasePrevention/H1N1/Video/PSAs/Sneezing101.htm
• Please keep your sick child at home. A child with a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea is not only infectious to others but needs rest and parent-provided TLC. Call your child’s doctor if the symptoms seem serious or prolonged and be sure to contact your child’s teacher for information about make-up work so he or she doesn’t fall behind in class.
• Head lice and nits are a common—but harmless—presence wherever human heads are found! The good news is that lice don’t hop or fly but are spread most often by direct contact with another human head or, less commonly, by using an infested brush or hat. Teach your child not to share these personal items, even with close friends or family members. More detailed information for how to detect and treat head lice can be found at: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HEALTHINFO/DISCOND/Pages/HeadLice.aspx
• Head Lice are a nuisance that affect up to 12 million school-aged children each year. Kids are much more likely to get lice from family members and playmates than from classmates at school. You may want to check your child often for lice or nits, especially after a sleep-over or other event where lots of children play together. Do you know how to spot nits and lice? Here are two websites that show photos of lice and nits: http://licehunter.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/head_lice_comb.jpg
For more information about head lice, just click here: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Documents/headlice2008Eng.pdf
• Periodic wellness visits to the doctor and dentist will ensure your child maintains good dental and physical health. Be sure to contact your school nurse if your child has a serious health condition, needs to be monitored or given medications during the school day, or if you need help finding low-cost medical or dental services. Just call the school clinic and ask the clinical aide to page the school nurse.
Common Childhood Germs and Critters:
• Colds are caused by viruses and are easily spread among children. Because most viruses are carried and spread before there are any symptoms, even a child who looks and feels fine can infect others by coughing or sneezing or by touching objects with their contaminated hands. Since viruses live for a time on inanimate objects such as desk tops, pencils, keyboards, bathroom faucets, and doorknobs, the virus can spread when a healthy person touches a contaminated hand or object and then touches their nose, eyes or mouth. If your child has a fever of 100.4 or greater, or is not feeling well enough to fully participate in all school activities, he or she should stay home. The rule of thumb is that the child must be fever-free for 24 hours and feel better without medication before returning to school. For more information go to: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/ear-nose-throat/Pages/Children-and-Colds.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR:+No+local+token
• Flu (Influenza) is another common infectious disease that occurs more often during winter and early spring months and causes mild to severe illness. Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose. Some people, such as older adults, young children, and those with chronic health problems, such as asthma and diabetes, are at higher risk for serious flu complications. For more information about the flu, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm
Remember! The best way to prevent the flu or avoid spreading it to others is by getting vaccinated each year. For information about flu shots and where to get them, go to the Washoe County Health District’s web site at http://www.co.washoe.nv.us/health/cchs/flu.html
• Sore Throat is another common complaint we see in our schools. Sore throat may be caused by an infection with either a virus or bacteria, such as Streptococcus (commonly called strep). Often a child with a sore throat due to a virus will also have a cold at the same time.
Most throat infections are passed from person to person by touching hands or through the air on droplets of moisture that are inhaled by the healthy person through their mouth or nose. That’s why it’s so important to cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve and to wash hands frequently! For more information about the symptoms of mild versus more serious causes of sore throat and when to call your child’s doctor, go to http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/ear-nose-throat/Pages/When-a-Sore-Thoat-is-a-More-Serious-Infection.aspx
We know that with so many students coming together in a single school building, illness and pests like head lice are common and not always preventable. The Washoe County School District is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for students, staff, and visitors. That’s why there are district policies in place that address prevention and management of communicable diseases in the school setting and why the Student Health Services Department collaborates with the Washoe County Health District to monitor student health and take action when outbreaks of potentially serious diseases occur.
Health Promotion and Infectious Disease Prevention
HEA-P1250- Management of Students with Head Lice
Medications at School
Support for Students With Special Health Needs
For more specific information about the Washoe County School District’s health policies, contact your school nurse or call Student Health Services