November 2016
A Quarterly Newsletter - Issue 2
Winter Health News 
We now have the first 3 months of school behind us and it always goes by so fast. As the weather changes, we will be staying indoors more and the germs will too!  Your School Nurse Consultants want to remind you about some important health tips for this winter. 

First, please make sure your student's immunizations are compliant and provide the school with an updated immunization record(
Immunization Information). This is an important part of our children's health and the community's health.  Schools are in the process of sending out notifications to let parents know about missing immunizations. Please contact your health care provider or your school nurse consultant for any questions.
Secondly, the cold and flu season is on its way and we want to remind you and your students to cover your cough or sneeze using a tissue or your sleeve.  We can also minimize the spreading of germs by washing our hands often with soap and water (
Cover your Cough and Sneeze). Getting an annual flu vaccination is another way to protect yourself and your family from the flu.  By working together, we can make this winter more about concentration and learning and less about upper respiratory infections and influenza (Healthy Habits to stop colds and flu). 

Health Tip: " Cough or sneeze, use your sleeve!"

Student coughing in sleeve
attendanceIllness Indicators and Attendance Policy

The next several months are usually the peak time for student illnesses throughout our school community. Our school health rooms will be very busy and our absenteeism rates will rise. By working together, we can minimize germs being spread and lower the numbers of students who are out ill.

The following are suggestions that will help us to maintain a healthy school environment, keep children well, and stop the spread of illness.
  • Check your student's health before he/she leaves home
  • Keep your student(s) home with signs/symptoms of illness
  • Be sure your student knows where you are
  • Give school office current emergency contact information
  • Make arrangements with relatives/friends to take care of sick children if unable to do so yourself
Healthy Breakfast
breakfastBenefits of Breakfast
Most students who come to visit the health room first thing in the morning share with our health assistants that they have a headache or stomach ache. These symptoms are often associated with not eating breakfast. Thinking of skipping breakfast? Consider some of the benefits you may be skipping out on as well.

Energy: Along with sleep and exercise, breakfast is one of the best ways to recharge your batteries. It's the perfect opportunity to get energy-boosting carbohydrates like whole-grain bread, oatmeal and fruit. Create a breakfast with staying power using protein and carbohydrate combos like fruit and yogurt, whole-grain cereal with milk or a whole-grain waffle with nut butter. Breakfast is an ideal way to energize so there will be no sleeping in class!

Improved concentration: Studies suggest that eating a healthy breakfast improves brain function - particularly memory and recall. This is essential for soaking up new knowledge and applying it later for a big exam.

Better grades: Research shows students who eat breakfast perform better academically. It's not fully understood why, but scientists believe it may be because breakfast supplies essential nutrients to the nervous system to rev up brainpower. Or the explanation could simply be that breakfast alleviates hunger and a rumbling tummy, which can interfere with academic performance, behavior and self-esteem.

Healthy weight: Teens may think skipping breakfast is a good way to save on calories and lose weight, but quite the opposite is true. Breakfast skippers tend to weigh more than those who eat breakfast regularly. Additionally, those who eat a morning meal tend to make healthier food choices throughout the day, which can positively impact weight and long-term health.

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Heart shaped fruits and Vegies
thoughtFoods for Thought

Although adults usually decide what their children eat, we all know kids eat what is available to them. Surrounding them with healthier options leaves them no choice but to eat healthier food. Encourage eating vegetables and fruits by making it fun.  Provide healthy ingredients and let kids help with preparation, based on their age and skills.

Tips for encouraging healthy eating:
  • Kids should eat 5 fruits and vegetables each day.  Serve fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables - they all count. Leave a bowl of fruit or carrot sticks on the kitchen table.
  • Switch to low or nonfat milk, yogurt and cheese.  Choose lean cuts of meat like skinless chicken or lean ground beef.  Bake or grill instead of fry.
  • Switch to lower sugar breakfast cereals.  Eat fruit instead of sugary juices.
  • Reduce the number of snacks served each day.  Have kids drink water at snack time.  Save "treats" for special occasions.
  • Use smaller plates for children.  Start with a small portion.  Kids can have seconds if they are still hungry.  Don't force kids to clean plates if they are full.
  • Family meals focus on eating and enjoying food and each other.  Regularly scheduled meal and snack times help children learn structure for eating.  
student asleep on laptop
sleepNeed for Sleep

"Sleep researchers have known for a long time that both children and teens who follow a regular early-to-bed, early-to-rise sleep schedule perform better at learning activities than those who are not on a schedule compatible with the body's natural circadian clock," said Dr. John Herman, a sleep expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. How much sleep is enough?  Preschoolers sleep about 11 to 12 hours per night.  School-age kids need 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night.  Teenagers need about 9 hours of sleep per night but many don't get this due to activities, homework and friends. A lack of sleep can result in being less attentive, short-term memory loss and delayed response times.  Ideally, children and teenagers should try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.

Tips to Help Children Sleep:
  • Establish a regular bedtime to help set your child's biological clock
  • No televisions, computers or cell phones in bedrooms.  No use of electronics at least 1 hour before bed
  • Avoid large meals close to bedtime
  • Build in quiet time before bedtime with a relaxing routine
ENDSHealth Facts about Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)

Are E-Cigarettes Nicotine Candy for Adolescents? Vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes (E-cigs), and e-pipes are some of the many types of ENDS. Using one of these devices is called "vaping." ENDS consist of 3 main parts: a battery, a cartridge containing liquid, and a lighter or atomizer. The liquid is heated and forms vapor, which is then inhaled. This liquid typically contains nicotine normally produced from tobacco, an aerosol, vegetable glycerin, and flavorings. Potentially harmful contaminants have been found in this liquid, including tobacco-specific nitrosamines, metals, formaldehyde, and acrolein. The amount of nicotine in the liquid varies among devices. Safety for many of these ingredients has not been established for aerosolizing and inhalation.
The number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes has been increasing significantly every year since 2011 to a current use rate of 16% in 2015. The average age youth try e-cigarettes is 11. The FDA has issued regulations in 2016 pertaining to e-cigarettes. Sales are now prohibited to anyone under age 18. However, the FDA is not regulating the marketing of e-cigarettes to youth.

Research has shown that talking to our youth at a young age about substance abuse, including nicotine/tobacco and marijuana, will reduce the likelihood of them using these substances. Parents and schools can work together in this education about substance abuse and addiction.

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Idling car exhaust
IdlingNo Idling Zone

Carbon monoxide is a component of tobacco smoke and is also the main product of car exhaust. More carbon monoxide is released into the air from idling our cars than from tobacco smoke. 

Why is it that people are so concerned about breathing secondhand smoke and not breathing the exhaust from idling cars? Many people choose to leave their car idling while parked on hot days utilizing the air-conditioner to stay cool and on cold days to run the heater to stay warm. According to the CDC (2016), the air quality inside an idling car is actually worse than the air quality outside the car.
The EPA (2016), reports that school zones often have poor air quality related to the elevated levels of carbon monoxide, especially during the afternoon pick-up hour. Children's lungs are still developing, and when exposed to carbon monoxide on a regular basis, the risks of developing asthma, respiratory difficulties and other adverse effects increase.

If you are waiting for longer than 10 seconds, think about rolling down the window and turning off the engine. Not only will you help the air quality for yourself and people around you, but you will also save on your gasoline bills.

At 55 mph_ the average text takes your eyes off the road long enought to cover a football field
phonesDistracted Driving

Each day we hear about car accidents that are caused by distracted driving. "Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving" (CDC, 2016).

The CDC (2016), indicates that the 3 main types of distraction are:

1.  Visual: taking your eyes off the road

Pay attention to the road, if you need to read directions, pull over, and put your phone in "Do Not Disturb Mode" (DMV, 2016).

2.  Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
        Put your phone out of reach, if you need to adjust anything, do it before driving,
        and don't reach for items dropped while
driving (DMV, 2016).                 


3.  Cognitive: taking your mind off driving
        Avoid talking on the phone, keep your focus on the road, and try to keep 
        emotions in check (DMV, 2016).

"Please talk to your teen about texting and driving, believe it or not your teen is listening to you" (CDC, 2016).

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Additional Resources

Health Conditions: Click here to learn more about specific health conditions