Illness can be a barrier to a student’s academic success. Students need time in their classes to interact with their teacher and other students to learn. It is very difficult to make up class work when students are ill.
Prevention is important to avoid illness. Encourage your student to wash their hands often. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states, “Hand washing has the potential to save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention”. Hand washing is also “one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia” (CDC). Students should wash their hands before, during and after preparing foods, before they eat, after going to the bathroom, after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing, before or after treating a wound, after touching an animal or their waste, after removing soiled clothes or shoes, and of course when their hands get dirty. The CDC suggests washing hands for 20 seconds or singing “Happy Birthday” twice. Alcohol-based sanitizers are an excellent product to use to wash hands when hands are not visibly dirty. (http://www.cdc.gov/features/handwashing)
Communication is critical when your student is ill. Tell your student how they should communicate with you if they feel poorly at home before they leave for school. Consider showing them how to take their temperature. Talk to them about when and how to responsibly take over the counter medication before they leave for school. This could save a call to you after they arrive at school.
When do you keep your teenagers home from school? If your student has a fever of 101 degrees F. or greater, is actively vomiting, has unmanageable diarrhea, unexplained rash, or untreated bacterial infection, your student needs to stay home to recuperate or seek medical attention. Many students with a fever over 100 degrees F. feel poorly. Please take this into consideration. There are students with compromised immune systems in every high school.
Our goal for students is that they are prepared academically for life whether that is college, military or work. We can work together to help your student learn how to prevent illnesses and take care of themselves when they become ill.
As the school nurse I want to support students whether they have chronic or acute health conditions. Please call if you have any questions.