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The RSU1 Health Services team is dedicated to providing students with the care and guidance they need throughout the school year.

Influenza

As many of you have already heard, Influenza activity in Maine is widespread. What can you do to prevent and control influenza?

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  2. Stay home when you are sick.
  3. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  4. Clean your hands often.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, drinks lots of fluids, and consume nutritious food.

If your child has a temperature of 100 degrees or more and a cough or sore throat, they have an influenza-like illness. Keep your child home for 24 hours after the fever resolves without the use of medicine.

If you believe your child has influenza, it is recommended you call your health care provider for current treatment recommendations. You should call your doctor or seek medical care if your child has trouble breathing or has behavior changes including changes in eating or drinking habits or if your child is ill enough that you would normally seek health care advice.

Our custodial staff will be following the CDC recommendations and doing district-wide disinfecting of all surfaces, doors, lockers, light switches and desks over the next week.

For more information please see www.maineflu.gov.

Pertussis

Pertussis is a respiratory illness commonly known as whooping cough that is caused by the pertussis bacteria. Pertussis is spread from person to person through the air. A person may catch pertussis by standing close (less than 3 feet away) to an infected person who is coughing or sneezing. A person has to breathe in droplets from an infected person to get sick. 

For additional information please refer to the CDC website: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/vaccine/pertussis.shtml

Signs and Symptoms of Pertussis

The first signs of pertussis are similar to a cold (sneezing, runny nose, fever, and a cough). After one or two weeks the cough gets worse and occurs in sudden, uncontrollable bursts where one cough follows the next without a break for breath. The person may turn blue in the face and may have a difficult time breathing. Vomiting after a coughing spell is not uncommon. If your cough and cold symptoms persist for two weeks or your cough is severe as previously described, please see your PCP for assessment/treatment.

Response and Treatment

  • Doctor's office will test for pertussis bacteria
  • Antibiotics will be prescribed if test is positive
  • May return to school after 5 days of antibiotics
  • A doctor's note to return to school is required
  • Cough may continue for weeks after treatment
Tick Bite Recommendations

What to do after a tick bite:

  • Remove the tick as promptly as possible. Tweezers or tick spoons are the preferred method for removal. It is not necessary to dig out any mouthparts still left in the skin. The area around the bite should be cleaned with antiseptic.
  • Identify the tick if possible. Dog ticks in Maine are not known to carry disease.
  • Monitor for symptoms for 30 days after a deer tick bite.

Maine CDC does not generally recommend antibiotics for the prevention of Lyme disease: however, a single dose of doxycycline may be offered by your doctor when all of the following exist:

  • The tick is identified as an engorged deer tick and was attached for at least 24 hours
  • The patient resides in an area where the prevalence of Lyme disease in ticks is greater than 20%
  • Prophylaxis can be started within 72 hours of tick removal
  • There are no contraindications to doxycycline

Even if prophylaxis is given, watch for symptoms for 30 days as it may not be 100% effective in preventing Lyme and will not prevent other tickborne diseases.

Symptoms of early Lyme disease may present as a flu-like illness (fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea and joint pain). Some patients have a rash or Bell’s palsy (facial drooping). Although a rash shaped like a bull’s-eye is considered characteristic of Lyme disease, many people develop a different kind of Lyme rash or none at all.

For additional information: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/vector-borne/lyme/

Head Lice

There has been a lot of press around 'super lice'. Super lice are being described as a new strain of insects that are resistant to over-the-counter treatments. What experts are saying is that this is actually NOT a new breed of lice. When we use a product over and over again for insects, eventually they are just not impacted by it. For this reason, some lice strains are extremely resistant to the treatments we are using.

Lice is a nuisance, not a health concern. We know this is hard for some to hear. Lice do not spread disease. Lice do not jump or fly. Lice are transmitted with close direct head contact with others. Remind your children to not share hair accessories or hats. Also, selfies may allow for the lice to transmit from one head to another.

For more information please read this article from Education Week published online September 4, 2015:
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/09/04/super-lice-shouldnt-keep-students-out-of.html?cmp=eml-contshr-shr

Some symptoms of head lice may include:

  • itching of the head and/or neck;
  • a tickling feeling or a sensation of something moving in the hair;
  • irritability and sleeplessness; and
  • sores on the head caused by scratching. These sores caused by scratching can sometimes become infected with bacteria normally found on a person’s skin.

Parents/Guardians should examine their child's head, especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck, for crawling lice and nits if your child exhibits symptoms of a head lice. If crawling lice or nits are found, all household members should be examined every 2–3 days. Persons with live (crawling) lice or nits within ¼ inch or less of the scalp should be treated.

For more information go to http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/parents.html

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Public Health Update