Health & Wellness

Susan Thompson, School Nurse

Vaccines Required Before 7th Grade

What Are The Vaccine Requirements?

All rising 7th graders must get one dose of Tdap (stands for tetanus, diptheria , and pertussis) and Meningitis vaccine before entering 7th grade or turning 12 years old (whichever comes first).

What If My Child Got Tdap Last Year?

They won't need to get another dose of Tdap vaccine. Only one is required.

Are Vaccines Safe?

Yes, vaccines are safe, although it is common for the Tdap vaccine to cause some pain and swelling at the injection site for one or two days.

Where Can I Get These Vaccines And How Much Are They?

You can get them at your doctor's office or local health department. Only your health care provider can tell you how much they cost but health insurance usually covers it. If your child is eligible for Medicaid, has no health insurance, has health insurance that doesn't cover the cost, or is Native American, he or she can receive the vaccines from the state at no cost.

If My Child Is Uninsured, How Do I Get Help With The Costs?

If your child is uninsured, apply for Medicaid or NC Health Choice (which are free or low-cost health insurance programs for children and teens) through your local department of social services. Learn more about these child health insurance programs at this link.

What Should I Do Now?

Contact your child's health care provider or local health department to schedule an appointment to receive Tdap and Meningitis vaccines. Before you leave your appointment, make sure you get a Certificate of Immunization (shot record) that documents that these vaccines have been administered. You will need to show this document to prove that your child was vaccinated prior to entering the 7th grade.

Does My Child Need Any Other Shots?

Yes, the Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that children 11-12 years old receive vaccinations for Hepatitis A, HPV (Human Papillomavirus), Flu, and a second dose of Varicella (chickenpox). These vaccinations are not required by law but are strongly recommended for adolescents.

How Can I Learn More?

For additional information about the vaccines and diseases they protect against, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website or the NC Immunization Branch. And of course, please don't hesitate to talk with our School Nurse, your health care provider, or local health department.

Cough Medicine Abuse

Purple Drink

Purple drink (aka dirty Sprite, lean, or sizzurp) is a concoction of a high dose of prescription cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine, Sprite, and sometimes a Jolly Rancher. While glamorized in music and on social media, the sedating effects of promethazine, combined with the respiratory effects of codeine, has led to the hospitalization or death several celebrities.

Robo-Tripping

Over-the-counter cough syrup can also be mixed with soda and abused. Sometimes called robo-tripping, consuming a large amount of the cough suppressant dextromethorphan is more common and can cause hallucinations and psychotic behavior. Mixing alcohol with prescription or over-the-counter cough syrup increases these risks.

Communication Is Key

Please talk with your child about the dangers associated with abusing drugs and alcohol. Click this link for more information.

Norovirus: The Stomach Bug

What Is Norovirus?

Norovirus is highly contagious and causes swelling of the stomach and intestines, which leads to diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Norovirus is often called by other names, such as food poisoning and stomach flu. There are many types of Norovirus and you can get it more than once. Though they share symptoms, Norovirus is not related to the flu.

It Can Be Serious

  • Norovirus can make you feel extremely sick with diarrhea and vomiting many times a day.
  • Some people may get severely dehydrated, especially young children, the elderly, and people with other illnesses.
  • Each year, Norovirus causes 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths, mostly in young children and the elderly.

It Spreads Quickly & Easily

  • Just a tiny amount of Norovirus particles to make you sick.
  • People with it can easily infect others, staying contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick to the first few days after recovering.
  • Norovirus can spread quickly in enclosed places like daycare centers, nursing homes, schools, and cruise ships.
  • It can stay on objects and surfaces and still infect people for days or weeks.
  • Norovirus can survive some disinfectants, making it hard to get rid of.

It Can Spread To Others By:

  • eating or drinking things contaminated with Norovirus
  • touching things that have Norovirus particles on them and then putting your fingers in your mouth
  • sharing utensils or cups with people who are infected with Norovirus

There’s No Vaccine or Drug For It

  • Antibiotics do not work on viruses.
  • When you have Norovirus, drink plenty of liquids to replace lost fluids and prevent dehydration.

1. Keep Hands Clean

  • Always wash your hands carefully with soap and water after using the toilet, changing diapers, before eating, preparing, or handling food.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water.

2. Wash Raw Food & Cook Seafood

  • Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating.
  • Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly.
  • Norovirus can withstand temperatures up to 140°F and quick-steaming, which is how shellfish is often cooked
  • Don't prepare food for others while you are sick or for 2-3 days after recovering.
  • Food that might be contaminated with Norovirus should be thrown out.
  • Keep sick infants and children out of areas where food is being handled and prepared.

3. Clean & Disinfect Contaminated Surfaces

  • Immediately clean and disinfect any contaminated surface with a solution of 5–25 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water.

4. Wash Contaminated Laundry Thoroughly

  • Immediately remove and wash clothes or linens that may be contaminated.
  • Wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled items and wash your hands after
  • Wash soiled items with detergent at the maximum cycle length and machine dry them.

Ticks!

What's The Deal With Ticks?

Ticks can live in wooded areas, brushy fields, and virtually anywhere around your home. They survive on the blood of their hosts and can spread diseases like Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

How Do They Find Me?

Ticks can detect animals' breath, smells, body heat, moisture, and vibrations. These 8-legged arachnids often pick a place to wait by identifying well-used paths and rest on the tips of grasses and shrubs. They hold on to leaves and grass with their third and fourth pair of legs while holding their first pair of legs outstretched. When a host brushes the spot where a tick is waiting, it grabs hold with it's outstretched legs and quickly climbs aboard.

How Do I Remove A Tick?

Check your body, clothing, and gear for ticks whenever you've spent time enjoying nature. If you find a tick attached to you, find a pair of tweezers (don't use kerosene, matches, or nail polish) and grasp the tick near your skin, then pull steadily until it is removed. Be sure to clean and disinfect the area where the tick was. They're hard to squish so flush ticks down the toilet to get rid of them. Contact your doctor if you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms within the next few days of getting a tick bite.

How Do I Keep Ticks Away?

  • Treat clothing or skin with repellents.
  • Mow lawns and remove leaf litter frequently
  • Clear tall grasses and brush around your home and at the edge of lawns
  • Remove old furniture or trash from the yard as it gives ticks a place to hide.

Beware of Text Neck!

Heads Up!

The human head weighs about a dozen pounds. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine increases exponentially. At a 30° angle, the weight is about 45lbs, and at 60°, it’s 60lbs. That’s the burden that comes with staring at a smartphone the way millions do for hours every day. Over time, this poor posture, sometimes called “text neck,” can lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine and degeneration.

An 8yr Old On My Neck?

Can’t grasp the significance of 60 pounds? Imagine carrying an 8-year-old around your neck several hours per day. Smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours a day hunched over, reading e-mails, sending texts, or checking social media sites. “The problem is really profound in young people,” says Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine. “I would like to see parents showing more guidance.”

What's The Risk?

Tom DiAngelis, president of the American Physical Therapy Association‘s Private Practice Section, explained, “As you stretch the tissue for a long period of time, it gets sore, it gets inflamed." It can also cause muscle strain, pinched nerves, herniated disks and, over time, it can even remove the neck’s natural curve. “Individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine and to avoid spending hours each day hunched over.”

What Can I Do?

Hansraj said that smartphone users should, "Look down at your device with your eyes. No need to bend your neck. You can continue to enjoy your smartphones and continue to enjoy this technology, just make sure your head is up.”

Flu Facts

How Does It Spread?

Influenza or flu viruses usually spread via droplets expelled from sick people when they cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get the flu by touching something that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose.

What Are The Symptoms?

Symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). Some people with the flu will not have a fever.

How Long Is Someone Contagious?

People with the flu may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to 5-7 days after. However, children and people with weakened immune systems can infect others for longer periods of time, especially if they still have symptoms.

Is There A Flu Medicine?

Prescription antiviral drugs can make people feel better and get better sooner. Antivirals can lessen the severity of flu symptoms. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections. They work best when started during the first 2 days of illness.

How Can I Protect My Child?

The first and most important thing you can do is to get a flu vaccine for yourself and your child. A flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. In addition to getting vaccinated, you and your children can take everyday steps to help prevent the spread of germs like:

  • Stay away from people who are sick.
  • If your child is sick with the flu, keep them in a separate room away from others, if possible.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after it has been used.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect hard surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs, including bathroom surfaces, kitchen counters, and toys for children. Clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.

When can my child go back to school after having the flu?

  • Keep your child home from school, daycare, or camp for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone (the fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine). A fever is defined as a 100°F temperature or higher.

Cold or Flu?

Symptoms

Cold

Flu

Body aches Not usually Almost always, often severe
Congestion, runny nose, sore throat, sneezing Almost always Sometimes
Exhaustion Sometimes, but never extreme Almost always, usually extreme
Fever Not usually Almost always
Headache Sometimes Usually
Location of symptoms Above the neck Entire body
Typical duration About a week 1-3 weeks

Medication At School

If your child must take medication at school, you have the following options:

  1. Come to school and give the medicine to your child at the correct time.
  2. Request that a member of our staff administer the medicine. In order to do this, you must first complete Form 1: Parent Request for Medication Administration (in Spanish). Then bring the form and the medicine in the original bottle with the original label to the main office. All medicine must be labelled with your child's name.
  3. Allow your child to self-administer the medication. In order to do this, you must first complete Form 2: Authorization for Self-Medication by DPS Students (in Spanish)and turn it in to the main office. For prescription medicines, Form 2 must be filled out by you and your child's doctor. Medicine should be in the original bottle with only one day's does.
Please note that medication forms expire at the end of each school year. School staff are unable to give medicine without the completed paperwork. Please contact our school nurse or principal with any questions you may have.

This page last updated April 21, 2017