Nurse’s Station


Kathy Agostino, RN

School Nurse
(574) 272-3922
Contact Kathy

An on-site registered nurse is available during the school day to assist sick students and administer parent-authorized medications.

 

Important Medical Forms

  • Emergency Medical Information
  • Epi Pen release form
  • Inhaler Self-Administration form
  • Nebulizer Consent form
  • Written Consent of Administration of Medication form

We have students who are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts (walnut, almond, hazelnut, cashew, pistachio, Brazil nuts are a few to note). Accidental contact with peanuts, tree nuts or foods containing peanuts or tree nuts (i.e. peanut butter, peanut oil, almond butter, etc.) even tiny amounts, can cause a severe allergic reaction and even death for those who have this condition. A nut allergy for children is a life threatening issue.

Although most children “outgrow” some allergies, allergies to peanuts or tree nuts may be life-long. They can cause reactions ranging from hives, itching or swelling of the lips, tongue or mouth, to life-threatening shortness of breath and a drastic drop in blood pressure.

Avoidance, education, awareness, and preparedness are the four keys to management of any nut allergy. This means not coming into contact with anything that has even minute traces of peanuts, tree nuts, or products containing peanuts. Peanuts may also be concealed in processed and baked foods. Examples include baked goods (Meijer cupcakes), candy (plain M&Ms), cereals (granola), chili, cookies (Meijer chocolate chip cookies), dips, egg rolls, ice cream and spaghetti sauces. We also urge the children not to share their snacks or lunch.

How can a parent help? Although a child with peanut allergy cannot always avoid all contact with these foods, we ask that a concerted effort be made to send snacks and treats to school (for class parties, etc.) that do not contain peanuts or tree nuts, especially if a child in your child’s class has a nut allergy. Please check the ingredients on any snacks or treats. If you purchase granola/cereal bars, cookies, muffins, crackers, or similar items, please avoid choices where the ingredients read, “May contain peanuts or tree nuts,” or “Processed on equipment that also processes peanuts or tree nuts,” as these pose a real danger to some of our children. When sending food into the class, please send the original container so that we can double-check the ingredients.

Thank you, in advance, for your kind help with this and please do not hesitate to contact our school nurse, Kathy Agostino if you have any questions.

For a complete list of Nut Allergy foods, click here.

Please do not send your child to school if any of these symptoms or signs were present in the previous 24 hours:

  • Elevated temperature (99.6 or greater)
  • Acute cold, cough or persistent cough
  • Vomiting, nausea or abdominal pain
  • Repeated diarrhea
  • Purulent discharge (anything other than clear discharge) from nose or eyes which indicate a possible contagious condition
  • Red, inflamed, or discharging eyes (conjunctivitis or “pink eye”)
  • Suspected scabies, impetigo, acute skin rash or eruptions, any skin lesion with weeping discharge.
  • Active head lice

There will be times it is difficult to tell when your child is too ill to attend school. Please feel free to call me in the morning to discuss the situation. We are happy to review symptoms and to help you resolve any questions. Sometimes there is worry that your child will miss important work or perfect attendance, but it is important to remember that a healthy child is a better learner. Like adults, children will have differing tolerances for discomfort and illness. Even with a common cold some are able to function well while others are miserable. “Staying home” when ill serves to protect everyone in our community.

Your child’s class has been in contact with streptococcal tonsillitis pharyngitis. This is a highly contagious disease, which can spread quickly in a classroom environment. Signs and symptoms may include the following:

  • Sore throat
  • High fever
  • Stomach ache
  • Occasional vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Often absence of cold symptoms such as a runny nose

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your child, please have him/her seen by your doctor. The incubation period is 1-5 days. A streptococcal throat infection may be contagious before symptoms are felt. To reduce the spread of this disease, please encourage your child to develop the following habits:

  • Cover mouth when coughing by using the crook of the elbow rather than hands
  • Wash hands regularly (especially after coughing or sneezing)
  • Replace toothbrushes after child has started antibiotic
  • Do not share drinks, food or food utensils

If your child is diagnosed with “strep” they must remain absent from school for 24 hours after starting antibiotic treatment. It is also important for you to notify the school nurse so we may alert other parents that their children may have been exposed. Please call us with any questions or concerns.

* Please note: Sometimes our strep cases have been diagnosed from the cultured test, not the quick swab test. So if your child has a negative quick test, but still does not seem 100%, please keep him or her home until the culture test is reported. Thanks!

Influenza is always a concern during the school year. This is a flu similar to other flu illnesses that you or your families might have had in the past.

The symptoms of all influenza viruses typically include:

  • A fever over 100 degrees
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Sore muscles
  • Sometimes stomachache with or without nausea and vomiting.

Children, two years through the early twenties, pregnant women, and individuals with respiratory, cardiac, renal, metabolic and neuromuscular health concerns are the most vulnerable to this flu. This puts our community in the high risk category as we have various members with these health challenges.

With all of the above in mind, it is even more important that we all protect our community in the coming months by being extra careful regarding the health of our children. Of course it goes without saying that hygiene is very important. Washing hands with soap and water is always the best way to prevent the spread of germs. If washing with soap and water is not easily available, using a hand sanitizer prior to eating or after using the washroom is the next best thing. All of our children have been taught to sneeze or cough into their elbows. This is an important way to prevent the spread of disease.

The following practices will help keep our community healthy:

  • If your child says he or she does not feel well in the morning, do not dismiss the complaints. Listen to what they are saying and assess their symptoms. Please call the school nurse for guidance if you are not certain about sending your child. You may also check the school nurse web page, community health updates, for guidance.
  • If your child has a fever over 100 degrees along with a cough or sore throat, please check with your pediatrician before sending your child to school.
  • If your child is diagnosed with influenza, please contact the health office as soon as possible.
  • If your child is diagnosed with influenza, the CDC is now recommending that they be out of school until they are fever-free for 24 hours without Tylenol/Advil before returning to school.
  • If your child has something other than influenza, such as nausea and vomiting, without fever, they must be symptom free for 24 hours and be able to eat and drink without nausea, vomiting or diarrhea before returning to school.
  • If your child has a fever only, without other symptoms, he or she must be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Please seriously consider vaccinations for your family. If everyone receives the vaccine (both seasonal and H1N1) it will greatly reduce the incidence of flu in our community.

Flu vaccinations should be arranged with your family physician.

The web can be  a helpful resource, particularly www.flu.gov .

Background Information (from “Head Lice – Wikipedia)
The number of cases of human louse infestations has increased worldwide since the mid-1960s, reaching hundreds of millions annually (1). About 6-12 million people, mainly children, are treated annually for head lice in the United States alone (2). High levels of louse infestations have also been reported from all over the world including Israel, Denmark, Sweden, U.K., France and Australia (3,4). Normally head lice infest a new host only by close contact between individuals, making social contacts among children and parent child interactions more likely routes of infestation than shared combs, brushes, towels, clothing, or beds. Head-to-head contact is by far the most common route of lice transmission. The number of children per family, the sharing of beds, hair washing habits, local customs and social contacts, healthcare in a particular area (e.g.f school) and socio economic status were found to be significant factors in head louse infestation. Girls are 2-4 times more frequently infested than boys. Children between 4 and 13 years of age are most frequently infested group (5).

The “no-nit” policy, which is implemented in approximately 80% of schools in the United States and in parts of Canada and Australia, requires the dismissal of a child from a school, camp or childcare setting until all head lice, eggs and nits have been removed from the hair of an infested individual. Because in most screenings diagnosis of a head louse infestation is based in the presence of nits on the hair, it is assumed that all eggs/nits found on the scalp are viable and therefore must be removed.

The “no-nit” policy is commonly adopted because it is assumed that health professionals cannot differentiate between live and dead eggs or because the screeners refuse to use a louse comb for the examination of the child’s head to find living lice. Therefore, parents are forced to remove every single nit from the scalp of their children. This involves long hours of picking nits, repeated treatments with pediculicides and absence from school for the child and possibly from work for at least one parent. The policy also has negative effects on the parent-child relationship, especially when combing becomes painful and the parent and/or child become impatient. Moreover, even if the visible nits are removed from the scalp, it does not necessarily mean that the person is no longer infested with lice. The immediate expulsion of children from a camp, kindergarten or school must cause significant damage to their self-esteem and also upsets and embarrasses their parents. The efficacy of the no-nit policy has been called into question by different groups of scientists and by several agencies, including The American Academy of Pediatrics and The National Association of School Nurses (USA). There are no convincing studies proving that enforced exclusion policies are effective in reducing the transmission of lice. Therefore, some scientists and policy makers argue that the “no-nit” policy is ineffective and harmful and should be discontinued (25). In Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Guidelines for Infectious Diseases warranting school exclusion have been recently amended to exclude head lice.

Resource and Practical Information:
Thank you for your continuing support in controlling head lice. We seem to be in a good place, yet always want to be on guard regarding this issue. It seems that lice are everywhere. Your child is susceptible wherever children gather, not just school. Overnights, camps, after school programs, travel, neighborhood are all sources for head lice. It is important that weekly lice checks become regular part of your family life and that all our parents work to become educated in this area. Head lice are a fact of life…the only mom to blame is Mother Nature.

  • Keep checking your child’s head for live lice and nits after shower/bath time. The life cycle of a louse and egg will span a 10-14 day period. It is easy to miss a nit or two as they are so small. Inspect by examining one inch sections of the hair in good light and look close to the scalp. If you find lice, please call the school nurse to discuss treatment possibilities.
  • As you check your child, manually remove the nits. The combs are only so effective in “de-nitting.” Manual picking is the most effective approach. It will take lots of time and checking to de-nit, so expect to stay with the task over a period of days.
  • If you have had to treat your child, please remember to re-treat him/her within 7-10 days of the first treatment. It is important to stop the life cycle of any nit that has not been affected by the treatment shampoo. If you continue to see new nits or active lice after 2 treatments, please contact your physician for advice.
  • Please have your daughter’s hair styled so that is not hanging free.
  • There are three sites to find information.
    • http://identify.us.com is a website that presents lice information based on scientific research. There are good pictures and lots of interesting information.
    • www.HeadLice.org is sponsored by the National Pediculosis Society. This site has great practical information and some good video clips on how to check for lice. This site promotes policy based on primarily anecdote and observation so be careful to compare information with the first site mentioned.

Please call Kathy Agostino (574.272.3922) if you have any concerns and questions. The nurse’s office is always willing to help in any way that they can.