Welcome to the SCHOOL HEALTH NEWSLETTER, where parents, students, educators and staff can keep current with school health-related items.
GENERAL HOUSEKEEPING: Please, provide all emergency medications with proper documentation, signed by your child's health care provider to the nurse as soon as possible. Also, all 2018-2019 Well Child Physicals are to be submitted to the School Nurse. Medical forms to be filled out by your child's health care provider are provided in the link above titled "Printable Medical Forms". Please print out the Universal Health Record and bring the blank form to be filled out by the Pediatrician and submit to the School Nurse. If your child is to participate in Athletics, please print out the Sports Participation Physical form and return to school before the sport begins.
· All students are required to have an updated immunization record on file in order to stay in school. Influenza vaccines are mandatory ny NJ State law for children ages 6 to 59 months of age. All students ages up to 59 months as of December 31st must provide documentation of receipt of annual flu shot. Students who fail to provide documentation by reopen date in January will be EXCLUDED from attending school until proper documentation is provided.
· Annual school health screenings for vision, hearing, height, weight and blood pressure (K-8th Grade) will be conducted on Fridays throughout the school year. You will be promptly notified of any referrals. Scoliosis screenings will take place in the month of May. Consents will be sent home in advance. Please, if you would like your child to be screened for scoliosis, sign and return the consent form in a timely manner.
· Allergy & Asthma season is approaching. Monitor all symptoms closely and follow your health care provider’s advice. Medical care plans, rescue inhalers, and Epi pens are a necessity. Please be sure to provide all rescue medication to the School Nurse alongside proper documentation. All medications must have a printed pharmacy label with your child's name on box.
· If your child has a health condition or needs special care during the school day such as medication, treatments, or monitoring, please inform the school nurse.
· Please provide a current and working phone number with the school office.
· Periodically visit the school nurse web page for monthly newsletters, information on student health policy, printable medical forms, and other helpful links.
If your child is absent due to illness or injury, please, provide the school with a doctor's note so that they may attend school. Children must be fever-free for 24 hours or more to return to school. If your child incurs 3 or more consecutive absences, a doctor's note is required to return to school.
If you have any questions or if your child has any medical concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the School Nurse.
Emergency Medical Forms, Medications in school, & School Nurse Website! Emergency medical forms were sent home with students on the first day of school. Thank you for filling out the forms and returning them back to school so promptly! If there are changes during the school year in regard to emergency contact names or numbers, please inform the main office. Students who need medication during school hours (including inhalers and epi-pens) will need to have an adult or guardian complete the medication form accompanied by a physician’s order to have medication administered during school. All medication received by the nurses office must be in its original pharmacy labeled container. Please be sure to check out the School Nurse Website online, all health-related school forms are online and can be printed at home if needed. I have also included helpful information about school screenings, health links.
FEBRUARY IS HEART HEALTH MONTH
Sudden death in young people: Heart problems often blamed
Sudden death in young people is rare, but those at risk can take precautions. Find out more about the risk factors, causes and treatments.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Sudden death in people younger than 35, often due to undiscovered heart defects or overlooked heart abnormalities, is rare. When these sudden deaths occur, it's often during physical activity, such as playing a sport, and more often occurs in males than in females.
Millions of elementary, high school and college athletes compete yearly without incident. If you or your child is at risk of sudden death, talk to your doctor about precautions you can take.
How common is sudden cardiac death in young people?
Most deaths due to cardiac arrest are in older adults, particularly those with coronary artery disease. Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes, but the incidence of it is unclear. Perhaps 1 in every 50,000 sudden cardiac deaths a year occurs in young athletes.
What can cause sudden cardiac death in young people?
The causes of sudden cardiac death in young people vary. Most often, death is due to a heart abnormality.
For a variety of reasons, something causes the heart to beat out of control. This abnormal heart rhythm is known as ventricular fibrillation.
Some specific causes of sudden cardiac death in young people include:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). In this usually inherited condition, the walls of the heart muscle thicken. The thickened muscle can disrupt the heart's electrical system, leading to fast or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), which can lead to sudden cardiac death.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, although not usually fatal, is the most common cause of heart-related sudden death in people under 30. It's the most common identifiable cause of sudden death in athletes. HCM often goes undetected.
- Coronary artery abnormalities. Sometimes people are born with heart arteries (coronary arteries) that are connected abnormally. The arteries can become compressed during exercise and not provide proper blood flow to the heart.
- Long QT syndrome. This inherited heart rhythm disorder can cause fast, chaotic heartbeats, often leading to fainting. Young people with long QT syndrome have an increased risk of sudden death.
Other causes of sudden cardiac death in young people include structural abnormalities of the heart, such as undetected heart disease that was present at birth (congenital) and heart muscle abnormalities.
Other causes include inflammation of the heart muscle, which can be caused by viruses and other illnesses. Besides long QT syndrome, other abnormalities of the heart's electrical system, such as Brugada syndrome, can cause sudden death.
Commotio cordis, another rare cause of sudden cardiac death that can occur in anyone, occurs as the result of a blunt blow to the chest, such as being hit by a hockey puck or another player. The blow to the chest can trigger ventricular fibrillation if the blow strikes at exactly the wrong time in the heart's electrical cycle.
Are there symptoms or red flags parents, coaches and others should be on the lookout for that signal a young person is at high risk of sudden cardiac death?
Many times these deaths occur with no warning, indications to watch for include:
- Unexplained fainting (syncope). If this occurs during physical activity, it could be a sign that there's a problem with your heart.
- Family history of sudden cardiac death. The other major warning sign is a family history of unexplained deaths before the age of 50. If this has occurred in your family, talk with your doctor about screening options.
Shortness of breath or chest pain could indicate that you're at risk of sudden cardiac death. They could also indicate other health problems in young people, such as asthma.
Can sudden death in young people be prevented?
Sometimes. If you're at high risk of sudden cardiac death, your doctor will usually suggest that you avoid competitive sports. Depending on your underlying condition, medical or surgical treatments might be appropriate to reduce your risk of sudden death.
Another option for some, such as those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, is an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). This pager-sized device implanted in your chest like a pacemaker continuously monitors your heartbeat. If a life-threatening arrhythmia occurs, the ICD delivers electrical shocks to restore a normal heart rhythm.
Who should be screened for sudden death risk factors?
There's debate in the medical community about screening young athletes to attempt to identify those at high risk of sudden death.
Some countries such as Italy screen young people with an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), which records the electrical signals in the heart. However, this type of screening is expensive and can produce false-positive results — indications that an abnormality or disease is present when it isn't — which can cause unnecessary worry and additional tests.
It's not clear that routine exams given before athletes are cleared to play competitive sports can prevent sudden cardiac death. However, they might help identify some who are at increased risk.
For anyone with a family history or risk factors for conditions that cause sudden cardiac death, further screening is recommended. Repeat screening of family members is recommended over time, even if the first heart evaluation was normal.
Should young people with a heart defect avoid physical activity?
If you're at risk of sudden cardiac death, talk to your doctor about physical activity. Whether you can participate in exercise or sports depends on your condition.
For some disorders, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, it's often recommended that you avoid most competitive sports and that if you have an ICD, you should avoid impact sports. But this doesn't mean you need to avoid exercise. Talk to your doctor about restrictions on your activity.
NOVEL CORONAVIRUS 2020 GUIDELINES
Released January 28, 2020
Novel Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV) Information for K-12 Schools
Many K-12 school administrators, teachers and parents within New Jersey are concerned about how the current outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Asia will impact their communities and wish to take appropriate steps to mitigate any risks. The word “novel” means new. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus so that they can better understand how it spreads and its associated illness. The New Jersey Department of Health is also working hard by developing guidance and education materials should this new virus impact our residents.
What is the difference between seasonal and novel coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses and there are different types of coronavirus within that family, much like there are different types of influenza viruses. Coronaviruses in general are not new, they are quite common and are a frequent cause of respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. Coronaviruses tend to circulate in the fall and winter months, similar to influenza. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives.
The type of coronavirus that has recently emerged in Wuhan, China is a new type of coronavirus and is infecting people for the first time (which means that people do not have any immunity to it).
What are common symptoms of 2019-nCoV?
Information to date suggests this virus is causing symptoms consistent with a respiratory illness such as cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
How is 2019-nCoV spread?
At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Chinese officials report that sustained person-to-person spread in the community is occurring in China. Person- to-person spread in the United States has not yet been detected, but it’s likely to occur to some extent. Cases in healthcare settings, like hospitals, may also occur.
How is 2019-nCoV treated?
Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the coronavirus. There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
What precautions should be taken for a person who traveled to China?
The CDC recommends that travelers avoid non-essential travel to Wuhan, China. Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan.
If a person traveled to China in the last 14 days and is sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing they should:
Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
Avoid contact with others.
Not travel while sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand
sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
If a traveler who returns from China is not ill, they may continue to attend school.
What preventive measures should a school take to help reduce the spread of respiratory illness?
NJDOH recommends that schools and childcare settings increase education on respiratory hygiene. Staff and children (as developmentally appropriate) should all be taught and asked to follow these steps that prevent the transmission of respiratory infections:
Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your sleeve, not your hands.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. Use alcohol-
based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Stay home if you’re sick, especially with a fever.
Avoid people who are sick.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
Additional preventive measures include:
Adhere to exclusion recommendations from public health. For acute respiratory illness; fever
free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication. Doctors notes for return do not supersede
public health recommendation.
Separate sick students and staff from others until they can be picked up to go home.
Provide adequate supplies, including clean and functional handwashing stations, soap, paper
towels, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Encourage routine surface cleaning through education, policy, and the provision of supplies.
Get a flu shot – it’s not too late to be protected!
School Cleaning Procedures
Special sanitizing processes beyond routine cleaning, including closing schools to clean every surface in the building are not necessary or recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness. Schools should
follow standard procedures for routine cleaning and disinfecting with an EPA-registered product. Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands-on learning items, faucet handles, phones and toys.
Outbreaks involving novel coronaviruses evolve quickly and recommendations from public health officials may change frequently as new information becomes available. Please check the following websites often for updated information.
For more information:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/summary.html
New Jersey Department of Health website at https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/schoolhealth.shtml
Thank you for your cooperation and support! Please do not hesitate to call if questions or concerns should arise.