Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Most people recover after a few days but for some people it can be fatal. An influenza vaccination each year provides the best protection against influenza.
- What is influenza?
- Influenza, or flu, is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. There are three main types of influenza virus that cause infection in humans – types A, B and C – and many sub-types or strains. Influenza can occur throughout the year but influenza activity usually peaks in winter.
- Influenza is a vaccine-preventable illness but a new vaccine needs to be given each year because influenza viruses change (mutate) constantly. A new influenza vaccine is prepared each year to best match the strains predicted for the coming influenza season.
- How is it spread?
- Influenza viruses are mainly spread by droplets made when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Influenza can also be spread through touching surfaces where infected droplets have landed.
- People with influenza can be infectious from the day before their symptoms start. Adults are most infectious in the first 3-5 days of their illness, while children remain infectious for 7-10 days, and people with weakened immune systems may be infectious for longer.
- How is it prevented?
- Influenza vaccination each year before winter arrives is the best way to prevent influenza.
- Seasonal influenza vaccination is available for anyone aged 6 months and over to protect against influenza, provided they do not have a medical reason that precludes them from receiving influenza vaccines.
- People at higher risk of influenza complications are strongly recommended to have an annual influenza vaccination. Annual influenza vaccination is also recommended for those who frequently come in to close contact with other people at higher risk of influenza complications (such as health care workers, and family members), to help protect vulnerable people from infection.
Take action to stop the spread of influenza by remembering to:
Cover your face when you cough or sneeze and throw used tissues in a trash bin.
Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Wash hands for at least 10 seconds, especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Stay at home until you’re well. Wait at least 24 hours after your fever resolves so you that you are unlikely to infect other people. Keep sick children away from school and other activities.
Call ahead to see a doctor. If you think you may have influenza and you need to see a doctor, call first so the clinic can take precautions to reduce the risk to other people.
Head lice is a concern seen in our schools each year. Parents should assume that lice are present where children are, and should screen their own children on a weekly basis. If your child contracts head lice, you may contact your school nurse for information and treatment protocol. Ankeny Community School District follows Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines to assist in the management and control of head lice in the school setting. Students are not excluded or sent home from school if they have head lice, though treatment should be started before returning to school the next day.
Facts About Head Lice:
- Head lice are mostly spread through direct head to head contact.
- It is much harder to get head lice than it is to get a cold, strep throat or pink eye.
- Lice can only crawl. They cannot jump or fly.
- School is not a common source of transmission. Children are more likely to get head lice from family members and close friends they play with often.
- Lice only live 1-2 days off of the head.
- Nits (eggs) are cemented to the hair shaft and are very hard to remove. They do not fall off.
- Hygiene does not make a difference with head lice. Head lice are transmitted through head to head contact with a person who has head lice. It does not matter if the hair is dirty or clean.
- Head lice is annoying and irritating but it does not spread disease.
Source: (Pediatric Nursing, September-October 2014/Vol. 40/No. 5)
Immunization, Health, and Dental Forms
Iowa law requires a parent to verify proper immunization against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and varicella to enroll in school. At least one dose of each immunization must be given before starting school. An immunization or exemption certificate must be on file with the school nurse by the time the student starts school as this is required by state law and Board Policy #504.10.
Please review the immunization schedules per the CDC. The state of Iowa requires students entering 7th grade to have both a Tdap vaccine and a meningitis vaccine. For those students entering 12th grade, you will need to show proof of two doses of meningitis vaccine. The meningitis vaccine must be received before the first day of 7th or 12th grade and an updated immunization record must be to the school nurse before the first day of school.
If you have specific questions or need more information on immunizations or any of the health screening, please talk to your medical care provider or school nurse. Your health care provider should be able to provide you with the appropriate immunization certificate.
Required by Iowa law, dental screenings are to be completed for all students entering kindergarten and ninth grade. Students entering kindergarten must have had a screening completed no sooner than 3 years of age and no later than four months after school enrollment. It can be completed by a licensed doctor, advanced registered nurse practitioner, physician assistant, nurse, dental hygienist, or a dentist. Students entering ninth grade must have proof of a dental screening by a dentist or dental hygienist completed no earlier than one year prior to enrollment and no later than four months after enrollment. The results of this screening need to be submitted to your school nurse on the designated dental screening form from the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services website.
The State of Iowa requires all incoming kindergarten and third grade students to have a vision screening prior to the first day of school. This exam can be completed by a licensed eye doctor or optometrist, your child’s health care provider at the time of his or her school physical, a free clinic, KidSight, or a county health department. A screening will be valid if it is done up to 1 year prior to enrollment and no later than 6 months after enrollment. The results of this screening need to be submitted to your school nurse on the Certificate of Vision Screening form on the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services website.
Blood Lead Screening
Iowa law now requires that children enrolling in kindergarten provide proof of having a valid blood lead test prior to six years of age. Typically schools provide a list of children enrolled in kindergarten to the Iowa Department of Public Health and Human Services and in turn Iowa HHS will let schools know if there is a child that does not have record of a blood lead test on file. There are exemptions to the law in cases of religious exemption or in cases where the Iowa Department of Public Health and Human Services determines the child is at an extremely low risk of lead exposure. If you have questions or need assistance, contact the Iowa Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 800-972-2026.
For students in grades 8th-12th that would like to participate in a sport anytime during the school year must submit a physical form. For more information on activities and to locate the physical form be sure to go to either Hawk Activities or Jaguar Activities.
Medication at School
All medication must be brought to the nurse’s office along with a signed Request for Giving Medication at School form, or in the school nurse’s office. All medication (prescription and nonprescription medication) must be in the original container in which it was purchased and must include the following information signed by the parent/guardian:
- Student’s name
- Name of medication
- Dosage (amount) of medication to be administered
- Date and time for the medication to be administered