What your school nurse does:
• Provide care to students who become ill while in school
• Provide basic first aid for incidents that occur during school hours
• Administer medication as ordered by a student’s physician
• Communicate with parents, administrators, and faculty
• Manage chronic conditions and develop health plans for students with disabilities
• To provide accommodation for their chronic conditions and disability under state and federal law.
• Handle life-threatening emergency situations
• Screen for conditions that impair learning such as: poor vision or hearing
• Ensure immunization compliance
• Track communicable diseases
• Promote healthy behaviors and educate children about healthy lifestyles
• Respond to student’s physical and emotional concerns
• Connect children with insurance and health care providers
• Prepare for school wide and community emergencies
• KEEP STUDENTS HEALTHY AND SAFE DURING SCHOOL
What your school nurse can NOT do:
• Diagnose or treat illnesses or serious injuries
• Give any medication, including over the counter, not prescribed by a doctor
Is Your Child Too Sick For School?
Early in the morning is often a difficult time to make the decision whether or not your child is too sick to go to school. With minor symptoms you often cannot tell if they are going to get better or worse during the course of the day.
The main reason(s) for keeping your child or children home are:
1) They are too sick to be comfortable at school, or
2) They might spread a contagious disease to other children.
As a rule of thumb, a child who has a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, a very frequent cough, persistent pain (ear, stomach, headache, etc.), or a widespread rash should stay home. Most of these problems need to be discussed with your child’s health care provider.
On the other hand, children who don’t have a fever and only have a mild cough, runny nose, or other cold symptoms can be sent to school without any harm to themselves or others. The following guidelines may help in you decision-making process:
• Runny or stuffy nose - If your child is exhibiting the classic symptoms of a mild head cold (runny or stuffy nose, slight cough and watery eyes) but does not have a fever; there is no reason she/he can’t go to school. Be sure to instruct him/her to take proper hygienic precautions to prevent sharing the germs with his/her classmates, including frequent hand washing, covering their mouth when coughing or sneezing, and refraining from sharing any eating and drinking utensils.
• Fever - (over 100.0 degrees) is an important symptom. While you can treat the fever and usually make the child feel better temporarily, the cause of the fever is still there. Your child should be fever-free for 24 hours (without medication) before sending them back to school.
• Severe cough - Children with a bad cough need to stay home, and possibly see a doctor. A bad cough can be a symptom of bronchitis, flu, or pneumonia. Once the child is feeling better, send him/her back to school. Don’t wait for the cough to disappear completely, as that could take a week or longer.
• Sore throat -- A minor sore throat is usually not a problem, but a severe sore throat could be strep throat – even if there is no fever. Keep your child home from school, and contact a doctor. If he/she has strep throat, they can return to school 24 hours after antibiotic treatment begins.
• Diarrhea and vomiting will make a child very uncomfortable. A single episode of vomiting, without any other symptoms, may not be reason enough for the child to miss school. PLEASE be sure the school can reach you if symptoms occur again during the day!! If diarrhea or vomiting persists or are accompanied by fever, rash, or general weakness; consult your physician and keep the child out of school until the illness passes.
Pink eye or conjunctivitis - can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or allergy. Consult with you child’s doctor to see if antibiotics are needed. Again, the child should stay at home until symptoms subside and they have been on antibiotics at least 24 hours.
• Flu - is a contagious virus that usually occurs in the winter months. Symptoms include: body aches, high fever, chills, congestion, sore throat, and in some children, vomiting. The child should stay at home until these symptoms subside, usually 5-7 days. Consult your child’s doctor for treatment.
• Ear infections - can cause great discomfort and often fever, but are not thought to be contagious to others. The child should see his/her doctor for diagnosis and treatment and should stay home if they have fever or pain.