Flu season is here. If your child is showing flu symptoms, please keep them home until feeling better. As always, good handwashing is the best defense for contagious illness.
Is it a COLD or the FLU?
Symptoms Cold Flu
fever rare high fever (102-104) for 3-4 days
headache rare prominent
general aches/pains slight usual, often severe
fatigue/weakness mild can last up to 2-3 weeks
extreme exhaustion never early and prominent
stuffy nose common sometimes
sneezing usual sometimes
sore throat common sometimes
chest discomfort, cough mild to hacking cough common, can become severe
Complications sinus congestion,earache bronchitis, pneumonia
Prevention good handwashing, rest annual flu shot, antiviral medications
liquids rest, fluids
Deciding when children can go to school can be difficult.
If a specific diagnosis, such as strep throat, impetigo, or "pink eye" is made by a doctor, the child should stay home until on antibiotics for 24 hours. A fever above 100 F with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, rash and sore throat are reasons to keep your child home. They need rest, fluids and medication to bring down the fever. Your child must be fever free for 24 hours without medication in order to return. If symptoms persist, a visit to your child's doctor may become necessary. Coming to school sick (and possibly contagious) not only exposes other children to the illness, but also delays your child’s healing time. Once the medicine wears off and the fever returns, your child must be picked up anyway, and valuable healing time has been lost.
If your child has 2 or more episodes of vomiting in 24 hours, please keep your child home until they are feeling better.
A diagnosis of chicken pox by doctor for a child excludes them from school until all lesions are crusted over.
If head lice are found on your child, students may return to school after a treatment with lice killing shampoo has been done. The nurse must check the child's head to make sure that no lice lice are present before returning to the classroom.
Skin rashes– if the rash has any fluid or pus coming from it, the child must remain out of school until the rash has been treated and a note from the doctor states it is ok to return to school, or until the rash is gone, dried, or scabbed over with no new spots appearing. Anytime a rash is associated with fever, the child may not come to school until that fever is gone for 24 hours without medication. Sometimes a rash is a sign of a contagious disease such as chickenpox. Sometimes, rashes are not contagious, but are uncomfortable and itchy from contact with something the child is allergic to. In that case, although school is certainly a good option, please consider comfort measures such as an antihistamine, following the district policy for medication administration at school and discussing possible treatment with your doctor and/or the school nurse.
Red eyes, especially if there is crusting around eye- this can often mean your child has conjunctivitis, also known as pink-eye. Not all pink-eye is contagious. Sometimes it is just allergies or other irritations that are causing the red color, but until we know for sure, which means we must have a note from the doctor stating the condition is not contagious, or until the redness and drainage are completely gone, your child must remain out of school.
Any injuries to your child which may require exclusion from school activities such as PE, recess or field trips must be accompanied by a doctor's note describing the specific limitations required. The need for crutches, wheelchair or any supportive devices such as a sling or ace wrap also need to have doctor's documentation. Parent should call the school nurse to notify her of the injury and any restrictions that need to be in place. For any questions relating to documentation, please call your school nurse.
It is our policy in Woonsocket to keep the school environment free of contagious disease. If your child has an illness that can be transmitted to other children, please keep them home and notify the school nurse.
11/21/14 updated ebola information:
Ebola Information for Rhode IslandEbola outbreak in West Africa
There is currently an Ebola outbreak in three countries in West Africa – Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. There have also been cases of Ebola in Mali. However, no one has gotten Ebola in Rhode Island.
Who is at risk?
In Rhode Island, only people who have been in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Mali in the past 21 days are at risk of getting Ebola. Even if someone has relatives in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Mali, that person is not at risk for Ebola unless that person has traveled to one of these countries in the past 21 days.
How Ebola spreads
Someone can get Ebola by contacting the body fluids of someone who has Ebola, or by contacting the body fluids of someone who has died of Ebola. (For example, blood, vomit, feces, urine, saliva, breast milk, sweat, and semen.)
Ebola cannot be spread through the air, through the water, or through food in the United States. Ebola cannot be spread through casual contact.
The symptoms of Ebola
People who have Ebola are not contagious until they have the symptoms of Ebola. The symptoms of Eblola are: • Fever • Vomiting • Muscle pain • Weakness • Diarrhea
• Headache • Stomach pain • Lack of appetite • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
Rhode Island’s program of monitoring travelers
The Rhode Island Department of Health is monitoring the health of all people who come to Rhode Island from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Mali. This monitoring is done for the 21 days after someone’s last possible exposure to Ebola. (A person will not develop Ebola if they do not show symptoms in the 21 days after their last exposure to Ebola.)
What you should do
Only people who have been in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Mali in the past 21 days are at risk of getting Ebola. However, everyone should always practice good health habits to prevent the spread of diseases.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. • Do not touch the blood or body fluids of people who are sick. • Do not touch things that may have come in contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids. These could include
clothes, blankets and bed sheets, or medical equipment. • Use hospitals and community health centers if you need them. They are open to everyone in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Department of Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) www.health.ri.gov/ebola www.cdc.gov/ebola 401-222-8022 / RI Relay 711 (English and Spanish)
Updated November 19, 2014