FARMINGTON—Going back to school is fun but it can also mean catching colds and flu bugs. After the fresh, open air of summer stuffing kids into a classroom full of other kids can spell trouble.
“Usually at this time there is an increase of illness,” said Margo Hill, coordinator of health and nursing services for the Davis School District. “Kids are together sneezing and coughing on each other.” Good hand washing is the best way to not spread disease, she said. “We also recommend getting the flu vaccine and keeping your kids home if they’re sick.”
The district website has guidelines for parents on when a child should stay home. Here are a few:
• The illness prevents your child from participating comfortably in activities
• The illness results in a greater need for care than the staff can provide
• The child has a fever, marked drowsiness or malaise, diarrhea, vomiting, cough or sore throat
In addition to illness, Hill said they deal with allergies and conditions such as diabetes and asthma. “Asthma has been a problem with all the smoke in the air,” she said. “It’s a big diagnosis at school. The school nurse can help with medication assistance and setting up a care plan.” If a child has a health issue it’s important for the parents to contact the school nurse. “The teacher can’t make a care plan,” said Hill. “There’s not necessarily a nurse on site at every school but one is available. If your child has an allergy you need to discuss with the nurse how severe it is so the child can be watched at school.”
Parents should also reach out to nutrition services for any special diet needs. “We can put a poster outside the classroom door that says to check with the office before bringing food in,” she said. “We use the Davis County Health Department’s protocol that no treats or food prepared at home or other non-permitted facilities are allowed.”
Prepackaged treats/food are preferred and Hill recommends including a food label. “This helps with allergies and things like diabetes.” Donuts, cookies, etc. from a commercial grocery store are also acceptable.
“Another thing when kids come back from summer break, or any break, we see an increase in lice,” Hill said. “It’s not a health threat but it’s creepy. Parents need to check periodically. They’re dark bugs about the size of a sesame seed. If parents keep a handle on their own kids it helps at school. We do have people here who are trained to check if it is suspected but we don’t do whole room checks anymore. It’s more on an individual basis.”
For more tips and information on how to make this school year a healthy one, visit the district website at www.davis.k12.ut.us/departments/nursing-services.