HEALTH AND SAFETY INFORMATION
The following information is meant for your use but does not necessarily imply district endorsement of any resource included.
Antibiotic Resistance - Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world's most pressing public health problems. Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant germs may be left to grow and multiply. Repeated and improper uses of antibiotics are primary causes of the increase in drug-resistant bacteria. Drug-resistant skin infections often surface on sports teams due to close locker room contact, skin abrasions and sharing towels and equipment (SEE MRSA BELOW)
Bird Influenza (Avian Flu) - Bird flu is an infection caused by avian influenza (influenza A subtype H5N1) viruses. While H5N1 does not usually infect people, human cases of H5N1 infection associated with these outbreaks have been reported. Most of these cases have occurred from direct or close contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces; however, a few rare cases of human-to-human spread of H5N1 virus have occurred, though transmission has not continued beyond one person.
Chicken Pox (varicella) - Chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus which results in a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness and fever. The rash appears first on the trunk and face, but can spread over the entire body causing many itchy blisters. Prior to the use of varicella vaccine, the disease had annual cycles, peaking in the spring of each year. Despite the vaccine, breakthrough cases of chicken pox have occurred and a second booster vaccine is now recommended.
Exclude from school for five days or until all vesicles have dried and crusted.
Child Abuse - The Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (Title 23 Pa. C.S.A. Chapter 63) requires all school employees to report suspected child abuse. This law defines child abuse as non-accidental, serious physical injury, non-accidental, serious mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, serious physical neglect, or imminent risk. When there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child may have been abused, the principal must notify ChildLine and Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families. It is not the responsibility of school officials to determine if there has been abuse or neglect. If the student has suffered injuries that require immediate medical attention, 911 will be called and the parent will be informed. All reports made pursuant to the Child Protective Services Law are confidential and may not be released to an unauthorized person. A parent or guardian is not an authorized person for purposes of releasing these reports. Additional information can be found on the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance web site at www.pa-fsa.org.
Fifth Disease (parvovirus B19) - Fifth disease is a mild rash illness that occurs most commonly in children. The ill child typically has a "slapped-cheek" rash on the face and a lacy red rash on the trunk and limbs. Occasionally, the rash may itch. An ill child may have a low-grade fever, malaise, or a "cold" a few days before the rash breaks out. The child is usually not very ill, and the rash resolves in 7 to 10 days. Parvovirus B19
Children with Fifth Disease DO NOT need to be excluded from school since they are not contagious once the rash occurs.
Usually, there is no serious complication for a pregnant woman or her baby because of exposure to a person with fifth disease. If you have been in contact with someone who has fifth disease, or if you have an illness that might be caused by parvovirus B19, you may wish to discuss your situation with your personal physician.
Flu (Influenza) - 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. While most healthy people recover from the flu without complications, some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious complications from the flu.
Exclude from school until symptoms are gone. Infection is transmitted by respiratory secretions.
Food Allergies - A food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. Once the immune system decides that a particular food is harmful, it creates specific antibodies to it. The next time the individual eats that food, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals, including histamine, in order to protect the body. These chemicals trigger a cascade of allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system.
H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) - H1N1 (referred to as “swine flu” early on) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. This virus was originally referred to as “swine flu” because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs in North America. But further study has shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs. Here are links to more information: CDC H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) ; CDC H1N1 Flu Guidance for Schools K-12; PA Department of Health H1N1 Information ;Allegheny County Health Department H1N1 Fact Sheet; Talking to Children About H1N1 Flu (NASN, PTA, NASP) ; Stopping Germs at Home and School
Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease (enteroviruses) - Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common illness of infants and children. It is characterized by fever, sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters. HFMD begins with a mild fever, poor appetite, malaise ("feeling sick"), and frequently a sore throat. One or 2 days after the fever begins, painful sores develop in the mouth. The skin rash develops over 1 to 2 days with flat or raised red spots, some with blisters. The rash does not itch, and it is usually located on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Exclude from school if child is ill. Otherwise, practice good personal hygiene, including thorough handwashing.
Healthy Habits – Teaching children healthy habits can be a challenge for any parent. Setting a good example is the first step to ensure proper nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. Providing your children with a safe environment will give them lots of opportunities to explore without danger to themselves or your home. http://www.keepkidshealthy.com/welcome/healthyhabits.html Involving your children in their own healthy decisions will promote compliance and promote life long good health habits. http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/
Hepatitis – Hepatitis B http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/b/fact.htm and Hepatitis C http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/c/fact.htm are serious diseases caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death and is spread by contact with the blood of an infected person.
Infected persons should be under a physician’s care. Chronic carriers DO NOT need to be excluded from childcare settings. http://www.achd.net/infectd/pubs/pdf/ID_school_guide.pdf
Practice UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS in the school setting. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/hip/BLOOD/UNIVERSA.HTM
Herpes gladiatorum - Herpes gladiatorum (mat herpes) is a skin infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). This skin infection is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact. Click here for information from the Allegheny County Health Department.
Impetigo - Impetigo is a skin infection generally caused by a bacteria such as Group A streptococci bacteria or Staphylococcus aureus. http://www.medem.com/medlb/article_detaillb.cfm?article_ID=ZZZYDG6G1AC&sub_cat=24 It may affect skin anywhere on the body but usually attacks the area around the nose and mouth. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/impetigo.html
Exclude from school until the sores are no longer draining and the child is judged non-infectious by a physician. http://www.achd.net/infectd/pubs/pdf/ID_school_guide.pdf
Lice- Head lice are parasitic insects that live on the heads of people and are easily spread through direct contact with an infested person and through contact with infested articles such as hats, stuffed animals, furniture, pillows, backpacks and other personal articles. Persistent itching of the head and back of neck may be a clue that you or your child have become infested with head lice. Check with your physician, pharmacist or local health department for treatment options for this nuisance disease. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/lice/2004_PDF_Head_Lice.pdf Mt. Lebanon School District follows the Allegheny County Health Department Guidelines for treatment and control of head lice.
Exclude from school until adequately treated and child is judged non-infectious by physician or school nurse. http://www.achd.net/infectd/pubs/pdf/ID_school_guide.pdf Mt. Lebanon School District adheres to the common “no nit policy” for readmittance to school.
Meningitis - Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and resolves without specific treatment, while bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disability. Exclude from school until cleared to return by physician. http://www.achd.net/infectd/pubs/pdf/ID_school_guide.pdf
Mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr Virus) - Epstein-Barr virus, frequently referred to as EBV, is a member of the herpesvirus family and one of the most common human viruses. The virus occurs worldwide, and most people become infected with EBV sometime during their lives. When infection with EBV occurs during adolescence or young adulthood, it causes infectious mononucleosis 35% to 50% of the time. The clinical diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis is suggested on the basis of the symptoms of fever, sore throat, swollen lymph glands, and the age of the patient. Usually, laboratory tests are needed for confirmation. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/ebv.htm May return to school when well enough to resume normal activities.
MRSA (methicillin-resistant-staphylococcus aureus) - Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to simply as "staph," is a bacteria commonly found on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. Occasionally, staphylococci can get into the body and cause an infection. MRSA are staphylococci that are resistant (SEE ANTIBIOTIC RESISTENCE ABOVE) to the antibiotic, methicillin, and other commonly used antibiotics such as penicillin and cephalosporins, therefore, alternate antibiotics must be used to treat persons infected with MRSA. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/aip/research/mrsa.html#what_is_staph Although outbreaks of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) usually have been associated with health-care institutions, MRSA is emerging as a cause of skin infections in the community. Many schools have reported clusters of skin and soft tissue infections associated with MRSA among participants in competitive sports http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol11no04/04-1094.htm and are addressing possible risk factors for infection (e.g., physical contact, skin damage, and sharing of equipment or clothing). http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5233a4.htm Exclude from school until 24 hours after treatment is started. Wounds must be covered and personal items not shared. Practice good personal hygiene including thorough handwashing. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/hip/Aresist/ca_mrsa_public.htm
Pertussis (whooping cough) – Pertussis is a highly communicable, vaccine-preventable disease that lasts for many weeks and is typically manifested in children with paroxysmal spasms of severe coughing, whooping, and post-tussive vomiting. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/pertussis_t.htm Exclude from school until 5 days from the start of appropriate antimicrobial treatment, or for 3 weeks from the onset of symptoms. http://www.achd.net/infectd/pubs/pdf/ID_school_guide.pdf
Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) - Commonly known as pinkeye, conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inner surface of the eyelids. Infectious conjunctivitis is usually caused by either bacteria or viruses. All types of infectious conjunctivitis are contagious and can spread from one eye to the other by touching the eyes. Medical treatment for most cases of bacterial conjunctivitis consists of prescription antibiotic drops or ointment for the eyes. http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/eye/conjunctivitis.html
Exclude from school until 24 hours after starting appropriate treatment or until physician certifies as non-infectious. http://www.achd.net/infectd/pubs/pdf/ID_school_guide.pdf
Pinworm - This infection is caused by a small, white intestinal worm about the length of a staple, living in the rectum of humans. Itching around the anus, disturbed sleep, and irritability are common symptoms. A pinworm infection is treated with either prescription or over-the-counter drugs. You should consult your health care provider before treating a suspected case of pinworm. Treatment involves a two-dose course. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/pinworm/factsht_pinworm.htm
Exclude from school or center until adequately treatment is received from a physician. http://www.achd.net/infectd/pubs/pdf/ID_school_guide.pdf
Rashes - Rashes involve changes in the color or texture of your skin. Often, the cause of a rash can be determined from its visible characteristics and other symptoms. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003220.htm
Reye’s Syndrome - Reye's Syndrome, a deadly disease, strikes swiftly and can attack any child or adult without warning. All body organs are affected, with the liver and brain suffering most seriously. Research has shown an association between the development of Reye's Syndrome and the use of aspirin-type products for treating the symptoms of influenza-like illnesses and chicken pox. The National Reye's Syndrome Foundation, U.S. Surgeon General, the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that aspirin and combination products containing aspirin not be given to children or teenagers who are suffering from one of these illnesses. http://www.reyessyndrome.org/
Ringworm - Ringworm is a skin and scalp disease caused by several different kinds of fungi. Ringworm on the scalp usually makes a bald patch of scaly skin. http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/ringworm.htm People with ringworm on other parts of their skin can have a ring-shaped rash that is reddish and may be itchy.
Exclude from school or center until adequate treatment is received from a physician.
Safety – In 2003, an estimated 20.7 million people in the United States suffered disabling injuries. More than 100,000 tragically died from avoidable causes. The devastation and cost to families, businesses and society are staggering. Yet all were preventable. The National Safety Council extends its reach and influence across the nation and throughout the world making significant progress to instill a culture of safety in businesses, in our homes and communities, and on our roads and highways. http://www.nsc.org/
Locally, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh provides education for parents to help ensure the best possible outcome during a child’s emergency or trauma situation. Whether it’s a painful fall that results in broken bones or an accidental poisoning from a household cleaning product, few children manage to get through childhood without at least one trip to the Emergency Department. Being prepared for an emergency means more than just keeping emergency numbers by the telephone. http://www.chp.edu/besafe/adults/adultsintro.php
Scabies - Scabies is an infestation of the skin with the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabei. Scabies spreads rapidly under crowded conditions where there is frequent skin to skin contact. Symptoms include pimple-like irritations, burrows or rash of the skin, especially the webbing between the fingers; the skin folds on the wrist, elbow, or knee; the penis, the breast, or shoulder blades. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/scabies/factsht_scabies.htm
Exclude from school until student and household contacts have been adequately treated (usually two treatments, two weeks apart). Single infection in a family is uncommon. http://www.achd.net/infectd/pubs/pdf/ID_school_guide.pdf
Shingles – Shingles, or herpes zoster, is caused by the chickenpoxvirus that remains in the nerve roots of all persons who had chickenpox and can come out in your body again years later to cause illness. http://www.cdc.gov/nip/diseases/varicella/faqs-gen-shingles.htm#1-whatis Early signs of shingles include burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching generally located on one side of the body or face. The rash or blisters are present anywhere from one to 14 days. People who have not had chickenpox can catch chickenpox if they have close contact with a person who has shingles. However, you can not catch shingles itself from someone else. Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus which has been dormant (staying quiet) in your body ever since you had chickenpox. So, you get shingles from your own chickenpox virus, not from someone else. http://www.state.sd.us/doh/Pubs/shingles.htm
Shingles primarily affects the elderly so school exclusion should be directed by a physician.
Stranger Danger - Teaching parents and children how to deal with strangers is essential for two reasons. First, to give children and parents good skills to prevent abduction. Second, to address the anxiety created for parents and children alike at the thought of stranger abduction. http://www.safechild.org/strangers.htm People who look friendly are not always nice. Keep safe from strangers and people you do not know very well with these tips: http://www.chp.edu/besafe/kids/01stranger_danger.php
Strep Throat - Group A streptococcus (GAS) is a bacterium often found in the throat and on the skin. People may carry group A streptococci in the throat or on the skin and have no symptoms of illness. Most GAS infections are relatively mild illnesses such as "strep throat," or impetigo. On rare occasions, these bacteria can cause other severe and even life-threatening diseases. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/groupastreptococcal_g.htm
Exclude from school for 24 hours after treatment is started. http://www.achd.net/infectd/pubs/pdf/ID_school_guide.pdf