To help prevent any illness, eat right, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and wash your hands often. In the case of influenza, you can also protect yourself by getting a flu vaccine each fall. Flu vaccinations need to be updated every year because the strains of viruses that cause the disease change frequently. In addition, if you’re at high risk, try to avoid crowds when flu season is at its peak. The best time to be immunized is in October or November. This allows your immunity to peak during the height of the influenza season, which is
generally December through March. It takes one to two weeks after you’ve been vaccinated for the shot to take effect. The flu vaccine isn’t foolproof. Its effectiveness varies based on the length and intensity of each flu season and the health of each person vaccinated. Because the strains used in the vaccine are chosen nine months before a particular flu season, there’s a slight chance the strains may change before the flu season actually starts. All of these factors make the degree to which the vaccine works difficult to measure. You may worry about contracting flu from the shot. But the injected vaccine is made from an inactivated form of the virus, so you can’t get the flu from a flu shot. In some cases, however, you may have a slight reaction to the shot, such as soreness at the injection site, mild muscle aches or fever beginning six to 12 hours after you’ve been immunized. If you are allergic to eggs, you probably shouldn’t have a flu shot. Because the viruses are grown in chicken eggs and you may have an allergic reaction. If you’re pregnant, wait until after your first trimester to be immunized, unless your doctor advises you otherwise.
10 Tips to Prevent Cold and Flu
- Wash your hands- most cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact
- Don’t cover your sneezes and coughs with your hands- use a tissue or cough into your elbow
- Don’t touch your face- cold and flu viruses often enter thru the eyes nose and mouth
- Drink plenty of fluids- water flushes out your system as it rehydrates
- Get fresh air- stay out of crowded dry places where germs may be circulating
- Exercise regularly- helps increase your body’s natural virus killing cells
- Eat healthy foods- dark green, red and yellow vegetables and fruits
- Eat Yogurt- studies have shown that eating 1 cup of low fat yogurt daily can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25%.
- Don’t smoke- statistics show that smokers get more severe and frequent colds
- Relax! – Proteins increase in the bloodstream that protect against cold and flu when you are relaxed
If you get the flu, your doctor will usually make a diagnosis based on your symptoms; however the doctor may take a nose or throat swab to test for the flu.
To get better, the best things that you can do are:
- rest in bed or on the couch
- drink lots of liquids, like water or juice
- Take medicine like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) for your fever, aches, and pains. DO NOT TAKE ASPIRIN because it can cause a rare but serious illness in children (usually under 15) called Reye syndrome.
PARENTS: Your doctor may recommend that children need to stay out of school until they are fever free for 24 hours.
PLEASE NOTE: Symptoms may last 1 – 2 weeks. If your child has a cough that persists or fever that returns, he needs to see his doctor.
Do you think you have a sick child? Should your child go to school or not?
Here is expert advice.
By Jeanie Lerche Davis
Reviewed by Jonathan L Gelfand, MD
A little sniffle. A slight cough. “I don’t feel good,” says your child. But how do you really know: Should this kid stay home, or go to school? With cold symptoms, fever (or lack of it) helps determine the answer, says Steven Parker, MD, director of the division of behavioral and developmental pediatrics at Boston Medical Center, and an expert moderator for WebMD’s message boards.
“If there’s no fever, it’s generally OK to send the child to school,” Parker tells WebMD. “It’s likely a cold, and school is probably where your child got it in the first place. If your child feels pretty good otherwise, then it’s fine to send the child to school.” But when in doubt, Parker says you should always call your pediatric provider for advice. Also, if your child frequently claims to be “sick” but is fine on weekends, that’s a
sign of other issues. “There may be trouble at school,” he notes. Symptom by symptom, here are Parker’s guidelines to help you decide whether your child should stay home from school:
If your child’s temperature is 100.0 degrees or higher, keep your child at home. While at home, encourage your child to drink plenty of liquids. Your child should be fever-free for 24 hours (without medicine) before returning to school.
Mild Cough/Runny Nose
If there’s no fever, and the child feels fairly good, school is fine.
Bad Cough/Cold Symptoms
Children with bad coughs need to stay home, and possibly see a doctor. It could be a severe cold or possibly bronchitis, flu, or pneumonia. But when the cough improves, and the child is feeling better, then it’s back to school. Don’t wait for the cough to disappear entirely — that could take a week or longer!
Diarrhea or Vomiting
Keep your child home until the illness is over, and for 24 hours after the last episode (without medicine).
A minor sore throat is usually not a problem, but a severe sore throat could be strep throat even if there is no fever. Other symptoms of strep throat in children are headache and stomach upset. Keep your child home from school, and contact a doctor. Your child needs a special test to determine if it is strep throat. He or she can return to school 24 hours after antibiotic treatment begins.
The child needs to see a doctor.
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
Keep the child home until a doctor has given the OK to return to school. Pink eye is highly contagious and most cases are caused by a virus, which will not respond to an antibiotic. Bacterial conjunctivitis will require an antibiotic; your doctor will be able to determine if this is the case.
Children with a skin rash should see a doctor, as this could be one of several infectious diseases. One possibility is impetigo, a bacterial skin infection that is very contagious and requires antibiotic treatment. Also, fifth disease is a contagious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes; it’s no longer contagious by the time rash appears.
Students are screened yearly for vision and hearing problems. If a problem is detected during screening the student’s parents will be contacted.
Height and weights are also measured during the screening process.
Individuals and classes are screened for head lice as indicated.
Any medications that a child may need during the school day, both prescription and over the counter, will be handled according to recommended Conroe ISD policy and procedure, TEA recommendations and FDA guidelines.
All medications must be stored and given in the school clinic.
For your child’s safety, medications can not be transported to or from school on the bus.
All medicines must be brought to the school by the parent. The parent should bring the medicine directly to the clinic so that the required forms can be completed.
Teachers are not allowed to accept medications (or medication instructions) from parents.
All medication must be in their original labeled container. Most pharmacies on request will provide a second bottle for doses required during the school day.
Dosage for both prescription and non- prescription medications will be administered according to labeled instructions.
At the end of each school year, parents will be notified to pick up any remaining medication from the clinic. Medications not picked up by the final day will be destroyed.
Over-the-counter medication dosage must not exceed the dose recommendation listed on the bottle. Exception: If your physician, dentist or orthodontist has directed a certain dosage to be given that is greater than that recommended on the bottle, a written order will need to be included with the written permission from the parent.
*The use of “sample” medication from the physician, dentist, or orthodontist must have signed written instructions from that doctor accompanied by the parent’s written permission.
*Please note: If a medication is required “daily” or “twice a day”, please administer it at home. Many “three times a day” orders may also be given at home unless the doctor requests specific times during the day.
*Inhalers: Students that have severe asthma may experience times when symptoms worsen quickly. If theirphysician requests that the student carry an inhaler, a letter from the physician permitting the student to carry the inhaler will be needed. The student will also be required to demonstrate proficiency in inhaler administration. Â It is strongly recommended that a spare inhaler be kept in the clinic in case the student or teacher cannot locate their inhaler in an emergency situation. Be advised that is their is an emergency on the playground/ PE etc. the only inhaler for the student will be in their backpack or locker. For this reason, it is strongly recommended for a spare inhaler to be located in the clinic.
*The Surgeon General, the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control have recommended that due to the increased risk of developing “Reye’s Syndrome” (a serious and sometimes fatal disease), aspirin or products containing aspirin should not be given to children under 18 years. Â If your physician orders aspirin for your child a written directive from your physician will be required along with written parent permission.
A “Student Health Information” form will be sent home with your child at the end of each school year. It is very important that you complete and return the form immediately. This form will give you an opportunity to list any medical conditions, allergies, medications that your child is taking at home and concerns you may have.
It also includes emergency information for the clinic staff. If your child becomes ill or is injured at school, this information will be used to contact you. Please keep the clinic updated with any changes in cell phone or work numbers.
You may also indicate on this form friends or family members that could be contacted if neither parent was available. Students will not be released to anyone without authorization from their parent(s).
Illness at school is evaluated by the clinic staff in the clinic area. A child who demonstrates the following will be sent home from school.
*Fever of 100 degrees or more
*Vomiting or diarrhea
*Severe stomachache, headache or earache
*Suspected contagious conditions or disease
*A child who is too ill to function in the classroom
Texas Dept. of Health and Conroe ISD
Immunization Requirements Updated March 5, 2009
Parents must provide physician records documenting a completed series of immunizations upon entry to Conroe ISD schools for their child. Each received vaccine must list the month/day/year to be considered a valid immunization. If a student is currently receiving an immunization series, he/she must receive the series as rapidly as medically feasible and continue to provide updated physician records to the school clinic.
Immunizations required for enrollment are listed below.
Elementary school (Kindergarten through fourth grade)
DPT – 5 doses – One dose must be after the 4th birthday.
Polio – 4 doses – One dose must be after the 4th birthday.
Hepatitis A – 2 doses
Hepatitis B – 3 doses – No specified age requirements.
Measles – 2 doses – Received after the first birthday.
Mumps – 1 dose – Received after the first birthday .
Rubella – 1 dose – Received after the first birthday.
Varicella – 2 doses Â or validated history of chicken pox.(K – 4th Grade 1 dose 5th – 6th)
Tdap/Td- 1 dose required at the entrance of 7th grade unless a tetanus containing vaccine has been received within the past 5 years.
Conroe ISD Health Services
For more information, please visit the Conroe ISD Health Services website.