Tina Hamblen – Nursing and Coordinated School Health Supervisor
1320 West Main Franklin, TN 37064

A Flu Guide for Parents

What is influenza (flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. Every year in the United States, on average:

  • 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
  • more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications;
  • 20,000 of those hospitalized are children younger than 5 years of age; and
  • about 36,000 people die from flu.

Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are at high risk for serious flu complications.

How does the flu spread?

Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

Symptoms of flu include:

  • fever (usually high)
  • headache
  • extreme tiredness
  • dry cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle aches
  • Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults

For more information please click here http://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/qa.htm

Having head lice can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of having poor health habits or being dirty. The most important fact to remember is that the problem should be quickly treated because delays will only help spread the head lice throughout your family and community. Please check your child regularly.

The most frequent and common signs of head lice are: Head scratching and intense itching of the scalp and neck with the observation of tiny crawling insects about the size of a sesame seed, with six legs, and color of tan to grayish-white. Adult head lice may look darker in persons with dark hair than in persons with light hair. Nits are lice eggs laid by the adult female head louse at the base of the hair shaft nearest the scalp. Nits are firmly attached to the hair shaft and are oval-shaped and very small (about the size of a knot in thread) and hard to see. Nits often appear yellow or white and easily confused with dandruff. Dandruff is removed easily from the hair or scalp; however, nits (eggs) are glued to the hair shaft and are very difficult to remove-usually must be pulled all the way to the end of the hair shaft by your fingers or with a fine-toothed comb.

If your child has head lice, there are several non-prescription and prescription treatments available to eliminate lice and their eggs. They can be purchased at your local pharmacy, or call your physician for his/her recommendation. Read and follow the directions carefully. A second treatment is often recommended 10 days later. The fine-toothed comb is often needed to remove all of the nits. Please spend time with your child combing all of the nits (eggs) out of his/her hair. Put on clean clothing after treatment. Inspect all other family members for head lice and recheck periodically over the next two (2) weeks.

If you find head lice, you must clean all articles that might have lice or nits. Clothes, towels, and bed linens should be washed in hot water and detergent or dry-cleaned. Stuffed animals or items that cannot be washed or dry-cleaned should be sealed in a plastic bag for at least ten days to two weeks. Disinfect combs, brushes, and similar items by washing with the special shampoo. Wash all book bags and back packs. Continue to wash your child’s bed linens regularly and vacuum all upholstered furniture and carpet. Throw vacuum bags away after each use.

A student may return to school only after the hair has been treated with a proven and effective lice riddance product and the nits have been removed from the hair. If, upon return of your child to school, evidence of active head lice infestation remains, you will be requested to come to school for a more thorough explanation and demonstration of procedures to eliminate head lice. Your child will be checked periodically over the next several weeks to ensure that the treatment(s) were effective. Medical documentation will be required if your child continues to present with signs of head lice infestation.

Confidentiality and sensitivity to you and your child is of paramount importance to us as we work together in the elimination of this condition. Thank you for your cooperation in being proactive to manage this problem that can lead to a disruption in your child’s learning at school.

What You Can Do:

Hand Washing You can prevent the spread of the flu by washing your hands before and after eating meals; after using the rest room; after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose; and after playing outside. Use warm, running water and soap. If you use liquid soap, use about one teaspoon. Be sure to rub your hands together vigorously for 20 seconds. Do not forget to rub between fingers and clean underneath the fingernails. Rinse thoroughly and dry hands with paper towels or a hot-air dryer. Washing hands is easy and can prevent the spread of other infectious diseases.

Rest Make sure that you and your children are obtaining adequate amounts of sleep.

Keep your children at home if they have a fever or are showing any of the above flu symptoms.

Consult your family doctor with any questions or problems.

Summary of TN and WCS Immunization Requirements for Child Care and School: This list provides information regarding new immunizations only. For a comprehensive list of all vaccinations, please visit the Tennessee Department of Health’s website. WCS School Admissions Board Policy

Williamson County School Nurses prioritize their school day according to types of medical issues that students have within the individual school (s) assigned to them. Students requiring licensed nurse procedures and students with emergency and/or individualized health care plans are the nurses’ top priorities. WCS nurses coordinate and oversee the school health clinics in each of our schools, perform licensed nurse procedures, and annual or as needed health screenings. Nurses are available to consult with parents/guardians regarding health issues that impact student performance and attendance at school. If students have medical needs requiring accommodations for them to be able to participate in their education in a school setting, or needs for individualized health care plans, the school nurse will work with the student’s parent/guardian and health care provider as needed to develop the plans and/or accommodations needed to ensure that the student’s safety and well-being will be maintained in the school setting.