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Happy fall! We wanted to send out a letter this month to update you on some information from the CDC, refresh your memory on illness policies and give you a few wellness tips.

The CDC has sent out a notification stating that there are many illnesses that they predict will either be more prevalent or more severe than usual. These include the Flu, Whooping Cough, Hand-foot mouth and Lice. We have already seen all of these illnesses in our community and school this year. Hand-foot and mouth disease has been very prevalent in our school so far this semester. Hand-foot mouth is a highly contagious viral infection characterized by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet along with fever and general ill feeling. The clinic in Panhandle reports that they have seen many cases of the flu as well. Symptoms of the flu include fever, aching muscles, headache, fatigue, sore throat, nasal congestion and sometimes a cough. There has been a whooping cough outbreak in Lubbock and we have seen some cases in our community as well. It is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that is very serious for infants and those with compromised immune systems. Symptoms include a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like “whoop”. Lice is always a concern in the school system and a fear of most parents. The state requires the school send out a letter to parents notifying them if there has been a case of lice in their child’s grade within 48 hours and of course here at PISD we comply with state laws and have been sending out the letters. So far this year we have found that some of the lice cases are not responding to over the counter products and are requiring a prescription to treat the infestation. Symptoms include itching on scalp, neck and ears.

It is our goal to keep our kids healthy in order for them to be at peak learning capacity. So please adhere to state law and keep your child home if they have had diarrhea, vomiting or fever within the last 24 hours. Please remember that they must be fever free for 24 hours without medication. Also, watch for other signs and symptoms of the diseases mentioned above.

There are many ways to try to stay healthy and prevent illness. Please remind your children to use good hand hygiene, eat a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep. Also remind them not to share hats, brushes, scarves, or hair accessories with anyone. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me at ellee.leland@region16.net.

Nurse Ellee Leland BSN, RN