Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Is It an Emergency: Covid -19 Edition.

Calling all the stressed out school nurses trying to navigate through the real emergencies, paperwork, screenings 504’s and IEP’s and minor injuries/illnesses! Are you inundated with kids who sneezed once or bumped themselves on a desk or door? Kids with loose teeth or dirty clothes? Now with the fabulous addition of Covid-19 to our workload what does that mean for us?

We school nurses have a ton to deal with all day. It can definitely get difficult to get through it all. An important helpful factor in managing your health room is communication with teachers and staff. Everyone needs to be on the same page.

Teachers and other staff have the right and the ability to triage students they are sending out of their classrooms and make a determination as to whether it is an emergency or can wait. They are allowed to tell the student with a stomachache to wait, or tell the student with a loose tooth to wait it out and stay in class. The goal is to keep the kids in class anyway right? When it comes to most issues like the cuts and scrapes, the loose teeth and the wet pants, the rules still apply but now we need to work even harder to keep the kids in class or with their pods so we don’t have too much “contamination” around the school, and especially in the health room.

You need staff to understand and respect your health room hours and allow you to wade through all the work you have for each day. One way for them to help you is to understand what things are actually an emergency and what isn’t. It’s understandable that someone who isn’t medical may not know how to handle possible medical issues but at the same time, they are teachers and they know the kids and can make that determination in most cases.

The first thing you need to do is to establish set health room hours and let everyone know. It can be tough to get everyone to follow the hours if you haven’t already established something like this. I have made multiple signs which I email out to the staff periodically and also have posted in multiple areas in my school – including my door. Your health room hours can be whatever works for you. If you need to give yourself two hours in the morning to get your screenings and computer work done and an hour or so in the afternoon to get documentation done then do what works. Some people are more comfortable having an open door policy or a locked door policy.

In our current climate, my plan and many others plans are to keep a locked door/appointment only policy. Some nurses have even installed a wireless doorbell (found here: https://amzn.to/3m5e1vL) on their office door for visitors. I plan to do the same. I have also created an epass in Google Forms (instructions here: https://youtu.be/LxlfPLPI0wM) so the teachers can send a pass to you and you can call to set up the appointment. Teachers can also just call you or radio when they need you. I also plan to modify my normal routine by meeting the students where they are as opposed to having them come to me so as to avoid having students leaving their pods.

I have created an information packet for the teachers that lists common emergencies/health issues and how to handle them in class if possible. It contains things like managing a loose tooth, managing cuts and scrapes, or general non-Covid related issues. It also includes a section for what to do with Covid-suspected students though, just in case. See below a sample of that. I made it in Google Slides and used my own Bitmoji.

Sample of “First Aid for the Classroom”

Next, you have to establish what is considered an emergency and what is not. Understandably, many people who are not medically trained have no idea what is or isn’t an emergency and may think that everything or nothing is an emergency. You can communicate this information to all staff to help be sure everyone is on the same page.

Some examples of emergent reasons to be seen by the school nurse are:

1. Bleeding: excessive bleeding, difficult to control bleeding, needs more than just a band-aid. Paper cuts, small scrapes, etc can either wait until the nurse is available or a staff member can dispense a band-aid if one is available.

2. Breathing Bad: Short of breath at rest, asthma, wheezing. “Out of breath” from playing at recess or gym or sports is not an emergency. If a student is newly short of breath unrelated to normal physical activity then the nurse should be consulted.

3. Broken: Obvious broken bone, excessive swelling, inability to walk or use body part. Banged knees, bumped elbows, other minor bumps and hurts can wait.

4. Barfing: Vomited more than once, witnessed by staff, visibly ill. A kid who reports that they vomited in a trash can in the bathroom when no one was around and is obviously well is certainly not an emergent issue. Often they vomit from coughing, or little kids choke and have a bad gag reflex, or they get stressed out. Vomiting is not always an emergency or even always an indicator of sickness. Vomiting can be a sign of Covid however, so the nurse should be consulted for a case of witnessed vomiting, especially when associated with any other new symptoms.

5. Bee Sting: This is self explanatory. Bee stings hurt like crazy and should be handled right away, especially for a person who may be allergic to bees (documented allergy), or a person who is exhibiting symptoms of an allergic reaction (you might not always know they are allergic till it happens.)

6. Burning Up: Obvious fever, feels hot to touch. Fever over 100.4 should be sent home and stay home until 24 hours fever free (as a general guideline but some districts may have different rules). See link to Covid-19 guidelines from the PA DOH.

7. Big Bump: Witnessed head injures resulting in bruises, bumps, change in mental status or bleeding. “I bumped my head on a wall while in the bathroom/walking down the hall/etc etc” and they don’t have any concerning symptoms then it is safe to wait for the nurse to be available. Chances are, when they wait a few minutes they will forget about it.

8. Seizures: A student or an adult who is having a seizure should be addressed immediately. Call the nurse right away and note the exact time the seizure started so the nurse can time it. In general a seizure lasting greater than 5 minutes will require a call to 911 and possibly emergency medications if available.

9. Allergic Reactions: Someone who is short of breath, has hives, wheezing, facial swelling, tongue swelling, difficulty speaking, change in mental status, loss of consciousness, or has a known allergy and has been exposed should emergently see the nurse (or call the nurse to come to the scene). Hopefully the student has an Epi-pen if there is a known allergy but 911 and parents should likely be called depending on the situation.

10. Diabetic Emergencies/Management: A student who is a known diabetic and is experiencing loss of consciousness, changes in mental status (drowsy, confused, speech slurred) should be seen immediately. A student who is a known diabetic and feels that he needs a blood sugar check or feels unwell should be permitted to see the nurse immediately. A student who has scheduled times to manage blood sugars and insulin should see the nurse at the correct times.

11. Any student with a known medical condition that may require nursing intervention should be sent to the nurse as soon as possible.

12. NEW cough that is not related to known allergies or asthma exacerbation. If the teacher doesn’t know they should call you. As we all know, cough, shortness of breath and fever are our #1 symptoms we are watching for.

13. Fever over 100.0. The teachers are allowed to check a temperature if they want but those students should be referred to the nurse if there is a suspicion of C19. According to the PA DOH if a student has a fever they should stay home or be sent home and may return when they have either a negative C19 test, and/or quarantined for 10 days, and/or an alternate diagnosis.

Here are the Pennsylvania Department of health guidelines (and a LOT of other helpful info) for those readers in PA: https://www.education.pa.gov/Schools/safeschools/emergencyplanning/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx. This site gives tons of resources and information on how to handle C19 in the school setting and sums up what to look for far better than I can!

I’m also giving you the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) page with all of their resources to help: https://www.nasn.org/nasn-resources/practice-topics/covid19.

What is NOT considered an emergency?

1. Potty Accidents: For my district potty accidents are not a nursing issue. The students should have extra clothes but if they don’t then parents should be called to bring them clean clothes. Check with your nurse to see what procedure is.

2. Seasonal Allergies: There is nothing the school nurse can do to manage seasonal allergies in school unless a student has medications that have been ordered by the doctor and the proper paperwork to dispense it. In general, if a student has allergies then it should be managed at home. A parent can always be called to address the issue if needed but it is not an emergent issue.

3. Mosquito bites/bug bites (aside from bee stings): In general, not an emergency. The nurse (in my district) can administer Hydrocortisone cream to an itchy bug bite but for the most part they have to wait it out.

4. Loose Teeth: Definitely not an emergency. A teacher is more than welcome to explain to a student that loose teeth are a natural, normal part of life and need no intervention aside from wiggling it till it comes out and the occasional mouth rinse if bleeding. Loose teeth may bleed, and they may be sore but such is life. Some nurses may be comfortable with pulling teeth but I choose not to do that as I feel it is a procedure that some parents may not prefer I do. It’s safer to just not do it.

5. Minor cuts and scrapes with or without bleeding: if the nurse is not available then the student can wait. If the teacher has bandaids then they may give one. A student may stay in class until it is an appropriate time to leave.

6. Dirty Clothes/got water on them/spilled food: This is not an emergency. Water dries, food can be wiped off. Chronically unkempt students should be addressed by the nurse and/or the counselor but it is not emergent to leave a class and manage unless the teacher feels it is an appropriate time.

Another idea that one could try is a “sick bench” for recess. In general students should not be leaving recess and lunch to visit the nurse as they have greater ability to wander or be away from their class without permission. Often, if they complain that they are sick at recess, have a tummy ache, or bumped themselves on something they can have a time out on the sick bench and take a break. You will notice that often waiting a few minutes cures them. Pain subsides, tummy aches from running around and playing hard will subside on their own.

A teacher or staff member has the ability to triage students health needs and make the call if they need to leave class right away and see the nurse or if they need to wait until the current lesson is finished before leaving. As always, everyone has the option to call the nurse and ask questions or discuss issues they have concerns about.

This is not an issue of “the nurse doesn’t want to see kids” but an issue of trying to keep the kids in their classes and cut out extraneous wandering about the school, and staying out of class. Our responsibility is keeping butts in seats as much as possible by keeping sick kids out and healthy kids in their classes.

With all of the added C19 guidelines, triaging does become a bit sticky at times. Remember, our job is not to diagnose but our job is to assess. We should be aware of what to look for in a suspected C19 case and refer them to their doctor of choice for continued care. Follow the algorithms put forth by your state’s DOH and/or the CDC and you can’t go wrong. Try to be as flexible and understanding as you can be and remember that the teachers and staff don’t have experience with this any more than most people – we are all muddling our way through this!

What Are You Doing as a Virtual School Nurse?

Is your district going all virtual for the start of the school year? Hybrid? Either way, we as school nurses have to make ourselves useful and indispensable during this unprecedented time. I’ve seen a ton of nurses ask the question “What are we supposed to do from home??” so I figured I would give a little information about some ideas.

The first thing you need is a few supplies. Do you have a computer from work? If you are doing any work that will involve private information like downloading immunization records you will need a district issued laptop for home as it is unwise to keep that info on your personal computer. You will need access to a printer and scanner, a laminator if possible (you can get one from amazon here AmazonBasics 9-Inch Thermal Laminator Machine). Then you will need all your basics like pens, notebooks (or find fun ones here: https://shrsl.com/2fmvr), highlighters etc.

To start out you’re going to work on your normal things we all have to do for the beginning of the year. I have a lot of new kindergarten registrations to wade through since it is normally done at the end of the school year but this year was obviously abnormal. For me this includes entering immunization records into the student information system, entering medical diagnoses, and identifying students who will have medical concerns I need to follow up with.

Immunization compliance: I realize that many states have relaxed the immunization rules due to virtual schooling but compliance and follow up is still necessary. I will be running a list of non-compliant immunizations (after entering all the kinders in) then using two websites (in PA I have PA SIIS and a city registry to look into) to cross check and fill in any missing info. Once that is done I contact parents to discuss any missing immunizations and set up a plan to get them or get the updated records if they are available. This may also include being aware of locations where students can go to receive the immunizations needed and informing them or assisting in getting appointments.

Individual Health Plans (IHP’s): Once I’ve identified all the kids with medical needs I can start to set up all the IHP’s for the ones who need them. I do them on paper at the moment but would be interested in a computer version or an app that would help make it all virtual.

504/IEP planning: I will identify any students that will need a 504 and begin that process. This will include speaking to parents and getting consent to proceed. I don’t have a ton of involvement with IEP planning but I will be in contact with the counsellor and Special Ed team to be included for any students who will need medical components to their IEP.

Along with IHP’s and 504’s, I will be contacting the parents of students who have documented medical needs to ensure that their needs are being met while doing virtual school. I will try to answer questions and/or counsel them related to their medical concerns.

Clerical work: I have TONS of scanning and filing to do. Not only did I not get to finish last years scanning and filing but I will have a continuing pile of things to scan and upload into my SIS and file into binders (yeah, I know, it’s supposed to be shredded but I can’t bring myself to get rid of stuff so I file it all in binders just in case.) If I have the opportunity to work from my building it would make this a lot easier but I can do some of this from home. Also, organizing everything to get started for in-person – binders for all the forms, substitute binder, ordering supplies, etc.

I will have virtual “office hours” for anyone who needs me to contact me via phone, zoom/google meet, email, text, etc. Whether it’s staff or students, they are welcome to contact me to discuss any needs or questions. I will be creating a flyer to announce when my hours are and how to reach me.

Google Classroom: I’m sure some have other platforms but I used Google Classroom in the spring and it worked well for me. I plan to continue that. I posted on my Google Classroom some general health and wellness lessons (kidshealth.org has a section for educators that has tons of lessons in areas of health!) I also posted videos for the kids for yoga breaks, meditation breaks, and even videos that I made myself to teach them things like mask wearing and hand washing. I also created a virtual health room which was a lot of fun. I used this video to help me: https://youtu.be/Y3ZiClcIYJs.

Webinars: look online for webinars about whatever interests you as far as school nursing issues, or covid related issues so you can be as educated as possible for returning to school. You can also search for and complete your CME’s if you need them – there are free ones out there if you look for it. Here is one free CME site you can check out: https://www.elseviercme.com.

BLS and other recertifications: Check on your certifications. Do you need to schedule your recerts? Get that done while you have the opportunity. You can do part of it online with the American Heart Association https://cpr.heart.org/en/cpr-courses-and-kits/healthcare-professional/basic-life-support-bls-training or you can find someone local to help you with it. Check with your local hospital also to see if they have a course offering.

Prepping bulletin boards and decorations: this is where that laminator comes in handy. I am a maker and love to design my own bulletin board stuff. I design it in PowerPoint or Google Slides and then print, cut out and laminate. One could also use a Cricut if they had one (I super need one! You can get one here: Shop Cricut) I also make printables, infographics and various things to put on my walls for decoration and education.

If I have any time leftover I will be available to help the other staff at my school get their work done, and help my other school nurse colleagues get some of their work done if I can.

Be flexible, do what needs to be done, help others out. There’s plenty to do and then some!!

**This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on my link and purchase something I earn a small percentage. No one is obligated to purchase anything, I only include these links to make your life a little bit easier. enjoy!

I am a School Nurse and I am afraid.

I am a school nurse and I am afraid.

I am afraid of returning to my school after being closed for almost half of the school year and navigating a completely new way of doing my job. It’s like starting a new job all over again with no training.

I am afraid of returning to a building that may not have the physical updates to manage the new regulations that we need to follow such as good ventilation, infection control, isolation, and distancing. Many buildings lack the space for appropriate distancing, they lack good accommodations in bathrooms, they lack air conditioning, they lack windows that open and some need general repairs and asbestos abatement. When will this be done? Who will pay for it?

I am afraid of returning to a situation that is grossly understaffed. Do we have enough teachers for in person AND virtual learning? Enough teaching assistants? Enough custodial engineers to properly deploy the cleaning protocols created by the CDC to keep us safe? Are there enough nurses to go around? Are there enough substitutes to go around?

I am afraid of the expectation that as a nurse I will have all the answers all the time. There is so much information going around and while I can try to organize it all it’s impossible. I want to be able to educate my coworkers and students as a healthcare professional but how? The information changes daily. I’m overwhelmed.

I am afraid of going back into a situation that we aren’t ready for and seeing it all come crashing down around us. No one has a perfect plan – how could we?

I am afraid of seeing my students and their families getting seriously ill because we are together too soon. I am afraid of myself and my family getting seriously ill because we were together too soon. I am afraid of seeing my coworkers become ill and see their mental health suffer due to being together too soon.

I’m afraid of NOT seeing my students and knowing that some may fall through the cracks in a system that is already very broken and only going to widen the cracks in this “new normal”. I am afraid for my students that can’t escape their homes that may not be the friendliest, for the ones who have no homes and count on us for 8 hours of shelter, for the ones with special needs who need devoted attention and 1:1 specialist therapies. I am afraid for the parents who need the respite of sending their children to school so they can have a few minutes to breathe.

I am afraid for those who have to go to work and figure out how to homeschool their kids for however long they have to. While it is of course the safer option, many parents have to go to work and support their families. I am afraid for the teachers and school staff that will have to come in to work while having to figure out how to homeschool their own kids.

I am afraid for those who don’t take this issue seriously. Teaching the kids how to respect themselves and others by complying with the new rules must start at home. Sadly, I’m afraid that some won’t understand and some will choose not to comply because like it or not this is what’s happening.

I am a school nurse and I am afraid.

A School Nurse’s Thoughts on Masks at School and Bullying

Recently I’ve started to learn how to sew with a sewing machine and am practicing making my own masks (I’ll leave a link at the bottom with the sites that I’ve used to learn). So far I’ve made a few different kinds and honestly, they look awful but they are functional 🤷🏼‍♀️. They probably don’t look as bad to everyone else as they do to me though.

The one I made last night has the wrong color thread, some of the stitching is knotted (I could NOT get the sewing machine to stop getting caught up on loops of thread!!) and I used an old ribbed tank top for the earloops so the colors are hugely contrasted.

Anywho, I’m kind of proud of my masks. They aren’t the best but they aren’t the worst. So I wore one to Target earlier. I felt confident that it looked pretty good but then I got to the store and felt so self conscious about it!! It seemed like everyone was staring at me. It could have been because the mask is bright lemon yellow, could have been because it looks awful, or it it could have been my imagination.

Where am I going with this? My trip to target got me thinking about the kids returning to school and possibly having to wear masks. Is it going to be like a judgy mask fashion show at school? Kids have been known to be bullies over things like what brands of clothes other kids wear or what kind of “stuff” other kids have or don’t have. Many schools have had to turn to uniforms to combat that issue, or ban certain toys at school over too much fighting and bullying over it. My daughter’s school even had to ban folders and notebooks with pictures on them because of inappropriateness and/or fighting over who had better stuff.

There’s gonna be the kids with the fancy perfect, store bought masks with cute patterns or sayings, the ones with the rude inappropriate sayings or patterns, the kids with the disposable medical masks, the ones with the beautiful home made ones, and the ones with the awful but relatively functional home made ones, and maybe the ones who can’t afford masks so they have random things like bandanas tied around their faces.

I’m not sure what the solution here would be but I guess watch and see what happens then make decisions. Would we have to come to a decision to demand “uniform masks”? how would that work? Would schools have to commit to providing the masks that they want the kids to wear? Or maybe designate a specific color/colors that are allowed? I guess the uniform stores could get in on that as well too!

The obvious option here as well would be to teach the kids about not bullying and acceptance of all kinds but that takes time and patience. No matter what the solutions are this would of course be expected anyway.

I think in my own school this may become an issue – many of my parents can only afford the bare minimum so the kids will have what they have regardless of how nice or not nice it is. A solution for my kids would be more likely to be to combat the bullying and lots of education on acceptance. Also I think the majority of my kids understand each other and their situations and are pretty nice to each other for the most part.

In closing, I know that masks at school will be a trial and error process. It will be an interesting new twist on in person education. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t pose too much of a distraction for the kids in class!

Here is the pattern and instructions I used for making my face masks at home. It wasn’t too hard if you know how to use a sewing machine.https://www.craftpassion.com/face-mask-sewing-pattern/

Scroll down for some funny 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻 😂

I don’t know who the owner is of this but it was posted in many Facebook pages and I thought hilarious and appropriate:

(Insert Name) please don’t snap (insert name)’s mask in their face.

(Insert Name) you should not be using your mask as a sling shot. Please put it on your face. 

(Insert Name) your mask should be on your face not on the back of your head

(Insert Name) your mask is not a necklace, bracelet, or any other form of jewelry. 

(Insert Name) please do not chew on your mask.

(Insert Name) I’m sorry your mask is wet but that is what happens when you lick the inside of your mask.

(Insert Name)I’m sorry you sneezed but wipe out the snot as good as you can. 

(Insert Name) no you can not blow your nose in your mask. 

(Insert Name)why is your mask soaking wet? You just came back from the bathroom? And you put it back on your face after you dropped it? 

(Insert Name)I’m sorry you broke the elastic on your mask by seeing how far the band would stretch but now you will have to hold the mask on your face or use this duct tape. 

(Insert Name)please take the mask off your eyes and watch where you are walking. I don’t care if you can see through it. 

(Insert Name)please take the mask off of your pencil and stop twirling it.

(Insert Name)I know the mask fits over your pants like a knee pad but please take it off of your leg and put it on your face. 

(Insert Name)what do you mean you tried to eat your lunch through your mask? 

(Insert Name)please do not share your mask or trade masks. I don’t care if you like their mask better. 

(Insert Name) I’m sorry but your mask is not school appropriate. 

(Insert Name)we are not comparing our masks to other kids masks… everyone’s mask is unique and special.

(Insert Name)no you can not decorate your mask instead of doing your work. I don’t care if you have a Sharpie. 

(Insert Name)you are not a pirate, please take your mask off your eye. 

(Insert Name) try to get the gum off as much as you can. 

(Insert Name)please do not use your mask to pick your nose. No you can’t use (insert name)”s mask to pick your nose either.

(Insert Name)I’m sorry you tripped but that’s what happens when you put your feet inside the elastic of your mask. 

(Insert Name) no your mask does not make it hard to get your work done. 

(Insert Name) your Mom will need to get you a new mask since you chewed a hole in that one. 

(Insert Name) you will need to go down to the nurse to see if she can get your mask out of your braces.

(Insert Name)why is there a shoe print on your mask? 

(Insert Name)no you cannot eat the snow through your mask. 

(Insert Name)I don’t care if you were in art class and being creative, we do not decorate our masks. 

(Insert Name)we do not beam other kids in the face with a ball. No, their mask doesn’t make it not hurt. 

(Insert Name)please do not plug your nose holes with your mask. 

(Entire Class) who is making that noise?

(Insert Name)I’m sorry your ponytail is stuck, that’s what happens when you see how many times you can wrap it around your mask. 

(Insert Name of parent)I’m sorry to tell you but

 your child thought their mask made them a superhero and so they tried to fly off of  the jungle gym at recess…

(Insert Name) I’m sorry your breath stinks in your mask, maybe we should all try to brush better. 

(Insert Name)please take those things out of your mask. No, you are not a chipmunk. 

(Insert Name) I don’t care if you are the teacher you still have to wear the mask.

What Should You Include in Your Classroom “Care Packages”?

*This post contains affiliate links*

I don’t know about everyone but this school nurse likes to provide little care packages to all the teachers at school for managing minor booboos and issues in class. After all, one of our main goals is to keep butts in seats and not running to the nurse all the time, right?

I have a few different packs that I make up and refill throughout the school year.

The first packs that I make are general classroom first aid kits. I use a gallon size ziplock bag and place inside bandaids, antiseptic wipes, and gloves. This gives the teachers the ability to handle simple cuts and scrapes without sending the student out of the classroom and risking missing valuable learning time. I also include tooth keepers for the lost teeth that aren’t a bloody mess so the teacher can quickly handle that situation.

I have nosebleed kits stored in a few places within my building also – the main office, the lunchroom, and in the lunchroom for the recess aids to access for outside (you can keep the recess kits wherever it’s convenient for your recess aids). These include a gallon ziplock bag that has multiple ziplock sandwich bags containing individual kits. Each kit includes paper towels – bounty or something absorbent, not the brown waterproof ones known to be at schools, gloves for the person helping with the nosebleed, the nose clips for help squeezing the nostrils, and an instruction sheet for nosebleed first aid. This idea is not to prevent students from seeing the nurse for a nosebleed but more to give the adult directly in charge a chance to give the student help immediately and then get the student to the nurse for further assistance if needed. Often I get students who have nosebleeds just walking to my office and bleeding all over which is not necessary at all.

The next kit that I have is a field trip kit. I have string backpacks containing first aid things like bandaids, antiseptic wipes, and gloves but I also include in this one ace bandages, hand sanitizer, and disposable barf bags – my school is K-5 and you know how those little guys can get bus-sick!! I also include a folder with information about using an epi-pen, using an inhaler, first aid for seizures and asthma, and a general first aid guide for the teachers in charge. I don’t go on the field trips but I do like to make sure the staff going in the trips are trained to handle situations. I am including a link below for an Epi-Pen trainer for educating staff to use them.

Aside from all of these kits, I have a first aid kit placed in the main office with the general things – bandaids, antiseptic and gloves, and tooth boxes for lost teeth. In the off chance that I’m not around they can help a student. I also keep a first aid kit in a go bag with the usual stuff plus ace bandages and hand sanitizer for fire drills along with a folder and a pen to record anything that happens outside the building. I also give the Physical education teacher a pre-made first aid kit but also periodically refill his bandaids as I feel like the prepackaged first aid kits tend to have a lot of things we don’t really need (also the PE team should have their own budget to handle that stuff but I’m always willing to help).

So, happy packing! I hope this helps everyone get this task out of the way! Of course students and teachers should consult with the nurse about anything and everything they are concerned about but it’s helpful to everyone when the teachers and staff can handle some things quickly and quietly. Remember that even though kits are provided and education is given that you should be available for further education and assistance.

Scroll down for clickable links to all the items I mentioned! Do you have things that you like to include in your kits? let me know!

Just a tidbit about Coronavirus:

I am posting this from Facebook – this is a post by an Emergency Trauma Center doctor I used to work with. Her opinion and practice are well respected by myself and many others.

By Traci Ryan, Emergency Medicine.

“I’ve seen and heard several opinions about Corona (Covid 19) floating around and I thought that I’d weigh in strictly with some numbers, noting that the numbers are constantly changing as more data is available.
With that, please be careful comparing covid-19 and flu; Flu season is winding down and the stats are already in, “corona season” is just getting started.

From an epidemiological standpoint there are a few things to focus on when evaluating an infectious disease. Here are two of the important ones:
1- how contagious is it? For every flu positive person, that person infects an additional 1.2 people. In the case of Covid-19, every positive patient infects 2-3 people. So it’s at least twice as contagious as flu
2- how deadly is it? Flu kills 0.1% of people infected. The covid-19 mortality rate is a moving target at this point. Northern Italy reported a mortality rate of 5%. China around 3%, South Korea about 1%. Nonetheless all currently reported numbers are at minimum 10x that of flu

Based on current numbers and spread of the disease, epidemiologists have concluded that 60-70% of the entire world population will have Covid-19 within the year.
So let’s sum this up and keep the numbers on the conservative side, because as I mentioned above, the data is constantly evolving:

If only 50% of the United States gets infected with Covid-19, with a mortality rate of 1%, thats 1.65 million people dead. 1.65 million. Flu has killed approximately 650,000 in the entire world, approximately 33-50k in the United States.

Assuming that Covid-19 is something lesser than it is without all of the data could be, literally, fatal. I wouldn’t take it too lightly. Hopefully in the next few weeks the numbers will look a lot more promising. No need to panic but please be cautious.”

Managing Colds and Viruses

*Sniff sniff…cough cough….* Get the tissues and the Vitamin C because it’s cold and flu season. It seems like it never ends with these kids – the snots and the coughing and the moaning. So what can we do about it? Should we send them to school? Should we send them to the school nurse? Doctor? Should you give them medicine?

*Disclaimer: Always consult your Pediatrician before giving any medicine, especially cold medicine. You need to read the box or the insert and understand what you are giving, correct dosages, and possible side effects and interactions with other medications. Often pediatricians can tell you the correct dosage where the box says “consult pediatrician”.

So what works and what doesn’t? What can you do to be able to send your kid to school or daycare and feel OK about it? I’m actually learning about some misconceptions and new studies myself that show what is useful and what isn’t.

What works?

Hydration is key

Hydration: water water water all day long. Water till you pee all day. Hydration helps to thin mucus so it can go away easier. You can try warm tea (Non-caffeinated) with honey and maybe lemon in it, water, sports drinks, or even juice. Just avoid soda, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks because they will contribute to dehydration or at least not contribute to hydration.

Hand washing

Hand washing: A no-brainer really. While hand washing won’t actually cure anything, it helps prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. It’s important to wash hands under running water using soap when available, taking the time to rub them together and rinse well, drying with a disposable paper towel. Alcohol based hand sanitizer will do in a pinch but hand washing is best – especially for visibly soiled hands.

Rest

Rest: Your body needs rest when it is sick. Sleep helps build the immune system and allow the body to heal. The less work you are doing with your body the more energy it can devote to getting better.

Neti pot

Nasal Saline: Using over the counter nasal saline can help with nasal and sinus congestion tremendously. You can use the kind that comes in a convenient squirt bottle (Like Ocean) or sprays (like the Arm & Hammer one https://amzn.to/38Vnm29). You can also use a Neti Pot with saline for a sinus rinse: this doesn’t always work for everyone (personally I don’t care for the Neti Pot because I don’t get the amazing cleanse other people get but I keep trying!) I have one like this: https://amzn.to/38UOYob

Over the Counter medications

Over The Counter Pain relievers: Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve) can help relieve aches and pains, fevers, and headaches. Be very careful though because many prepared OTC cold medicines already have some of these in them and you would be taking too much if you combine them. This is especially important concerning Acetaminophen containing products as overdosing can be catastrophic. For kids dosages you should consult your pediatrician as they will have the most correct, up-to-date information for you.

Over the counter cold medicine

Over the Counter Cold Medicines: DayQuil, NyQuil, Robitussin, Pseudoephedrine, Delsym, Mucinex, you know, all of those. These are Ok generally for adults but it’s not really recommended to use many of these medicines for kids, especially those under 6 years old. Your best bet is to go with Benadryl but that is likely to make a kid (or adult) sleepy so it’s better used at home. As always, call the pediatrician and see which medicine they recommend before giving anything to your child. Be aware that many decongestants can cause a fast heart rate or other unwanted side effects, especially in those who are already diagnosed with any kind of heart issues. Use these types of medicines sparingly and with caution if at all.

Steam can help relieve congestion

Humidifiers/steam: Steam is a great way to help alleviate sinus congestion, among other things. Steam not only moisturizes the mucus membranes but it helps thin mucus so it can drain. Steam is also great for kids with croup. An adult can take boiled water in a bowl, lean over the bowl with a towel over their head and breathe in the steam – probably avoid this method with kids because they have a greater risk of getting burned by the water. For a child, you can have a cool mist humidifier placed near them, or turn on the shower on the hottest setting and close the bathroom door and enjoy the sauna.

Chicken soup

Eat: Don’t forget to eat. Your body needs all the vitamins and calories to help fight whatever illness you have. It is a researched and proven fact that nutrition plays a major role in healing. We all know that when you’re sick you are supposed to eat chicken soup. That’s sort of true – chicken soup is hot, steamy, and full of vitamins that our body needs but has no actual “healing properties”. It also brings comfort and relaxation which helps with healing as well.

Raw, local honey is always best

Honey: Honey has antimicrobial properties and has been proven to help fight some bacteria and viruses. We all know that you make hot tea with lemon and honey when you are sick and it helps soothe a sore throat and cough. You can also eat honey right off a spoon while you are sick! Using raw (unprocessed) local honey is your best bet because it hasn’t been heated and processed. You can usually find it at local farmers markets, online, or check in local groups for who has bees and is making honey at home. It is super important that everyone knows that it is NOT SAFE to feed honey in any form to children under 12 months old as it can lead to infant botulism – a very serious illness that causes severe muscle weakness and sometimes death.

Elderberry has healing properties

Elderberry: Elderberry, while not officially proven to be a reliable remedy, has been used for centuries to help boost immunity and help fight off colds. According to The Cleveland Clinic, studies have shown that those who took elderberry syrup saw cold And flu symptoms clear up and average of four days earlier And the symptoms were less severe than those who didn’t take it. It’s not a cure but it definitely cant hurt! You can buy elderberry products at the store like Sambucol or Zarbees or you can make your own. I like to use this Zarbees elderberry for my child: https://amzn.to/2HWH0i9 Scroll down for the recipe for elderberry syrup. I bought this kit from Amazon that had all the ingredients already put together except for the honey: https://amzn.to/2SURTY9

Raw apple cider vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar and other homeopathic remedies (Bone broth, garlic, cayenne, raw pineapple juice): All of these are shown to also have antiviral properties. Apple cider Vinegar must be the raw kind with “the mother” in it to be effective – Braggs is usually a good brand https://amzn.to/2T8v7Lv . I like to make a homemade “cough syrup” with ACV, minced garlic, grated ginger, cayenne, a splash of honey and a little bit of raw pineapple. It tastes like salad dressing from Hell but also truly helps coughs and sore throats some. Scroll down to see the full recipe for the natural cough syrup.

Influenza vaccine

Flu shots: While not 100% foolproof against getting the flu, getting a flu shot is better than not getting one. They don’t protect against every strain of the flu but they do help the severity of the symptoms often. People with pre-existing health issues such as asthma, or immune deficiencies, or are babies and elderly should definitely get a flu shot. Those who are around People who are at risk for complications from the flu should also get a flu shot. Misconception: the flu shot does NOT give you the flu no matter what you’ve heard from your friend’s aunt’s cousin’s hairdresser’s personal experience. Some side effects of the flu shot are flu like symptoms which can really stink in itself, and often the flu shot doesn’t cover all strains of the flu but most of the time it’s a good idea to get it. Here is info from the CDC regarding Flu Shots: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/flushot.htm

What doesn’t work?

Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotics: Antibiotics do not work on viruses. I’ll say it louder for those that didn’t hear me: ANTIBIOTICS DO NOT WORK ON VIRUSES! Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria, not viruses therefore demanding an antibiotic for a cold is just building your body’s resistance to the antibiotic and allowing for more antibiotic resistant bacteria to develop. Ever notice how they keep inventing stronger, newer antibiotics? That’s why.

Zinc

Zinc: I got duped on this one as I’m currently taking zinc for my cold I have right now. While there have been studies that showed taking zinc for a cold starting at the first signs of symptoms would reduce the duration of the cold, it turns out that the studies weren’t that good. They didn’t really study enough people for long enough to make a good determination. Zinc can have unwanted side effects too, especially if taken in high doses – anemia, copper deficiency, and nervous system damage among other things. Don’t bother wasting your money on it. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/expert-answers/zinc-for-colds/faq-20057769

Always wear a coat when it’s cold

Wearing a coat/hat/Avoiding wet hair: Yes you should always wear a coat And hat and Gloves and warm clothes when it’s cold out but not doing so won’t “give you pneumonia” as grandma always says. Being super cold can lead to things like hypothermia or frostbite though so still stay warm. The reality is that warmth and moisture breeds bacteria so you’re more likely to get sick in a warm place than a cold place.

Essential oils

Essential oils (depending which ones and how they are used): There is varying levels of essential oils being useful and not useful. Yes it has been shown that inhaling oils like eucalyptus or peppermint or menthol type ones can aid in clearing congestion, Tea Tree oil is great for a lot of things, so is peppermint oil and oil of oregano, but the reality is that essential oils rubbed on feet and diffused or consumed in teas don’t do a whole lot. They don’t purify the air, they don’t fight any bacteria within the body, they don’t balance your body’s “vibration”. None of it. They smell good. They make you feel like you’re doing something. It’s not worth the money wasted. Here is a podcast where they discuss some of the information pertaining to use of essential oils for medical treatment: https://gimletmedia.com/shows/science-vs/5whm7x

Take care of yourself, do the best you can and as always, if you are sick stay home! If your child is sick, keep them home! There is no cure for the common cold but at least we can take steps to prevent and shorten it when we do get something.

As always, head to your local Dollar Tree for all things disinfecting! Hand sanitizer, wipes for disinfecting surfaces, gloves,and most other cleaning needs!

Recipe for elderberry syrup
Recipe for ACV cough syrup

As always, don’t forget to visit my TPT store for fun prinatbles

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Your-Favorite-School-Nurse

Is It an Emergency?

Calling all the stressed out school nurses trying to navigate through the real emergencies, paperwork, screenings 504’s and IEP’s and minor injuries/illnesses! Are you inundated with kids who sneezed once or bumped themselves on a desk or door? Kids with loose teeth or dirty clothes?

We school nurses have a ton to deal with all day. It can definitely get difficult to get through it all. An important helpful factor in managing your health room is communication with teachers and staff. Everyone needs to be on the same page.

Teachers and other staff have the right and the ability to triage students they are sending out of their classrooms and make a determination as to whether it is an emergency or can wait. They are allowed to tell the student with a stomachache to wait, or tell the student with a loose tooth to wait it out and stay in class. The goal is to keep the kids in class anyway right?

You need staff to understand and respect your health room hours and allow you to wade through all the work you have for each day. One way for them to help you is to understand what things are actually an emergency and what isn’t. It’s understandable that someone who isn’t medical may not know how to handle possible medical issues but at the same time, they are teachers and they know the kids and can make that determination in most cases.

The first thing you need to do is to establish set health room hours and let everyone know. It can be tough to get everyone to follow the hours if you haven’t already established something like this. I have made multiple signs which I email out to the staff periodically and also have posted in multiple areas in my school – including my door. Your health room hours can be whatever works for you. If you need to give yourself two hours in the morning to get your screenings and computer work done and an hour or so in the afternoon to get documentation done then do what works. Some people are more comfortable having an open door policy or a locked door policy.

Next, you have to establish what is considered an emergency and what is not. Understandably, many people who are not medically trained have no idea what is or isn’t an emergency and may think that everything or nothing is an emergency. You can communicate this information to all staff to help be sure everyone is on the same page.

Some examples of emergent reasons to be seen by the school nurse are:

1. Bleeding: excessive bleeding, difficult to control bleeding, needs more than just a band-aid. Paper cuts, small scrapes, etc can either wait until the nurse is available or a staff member can dispense a band-aid if one is available.

2. Breathing Bad: Short of breath at rest, asthma, wheezing. “Out of breath” from playing at recess or gym or sports is not an emergency.

3. Broken: Obvious broken bone, excessive swelling, inability to walk or use body part. Banged knees, bumped elbows, other minor bumps and hurts can wait.

4. Barfing: Vomited more than once, witnessed by staff, visibly ill. A kid who reports that they vomited in a trash can in the bathroom when no one was around and is obviously well is certainly not an emergent issue. Often they vomit from coughing, or little kids choke and have a bad gag reflex, or they get stressed out. Vomiting is not always an emergency or even always an indicator of sickness.

5. Bee Sting: This is self explanatory. Bee stings hurt like crazy and should be handled right away, especially for a person who may be allergic to bees (documented allergy), or a person who is exhibiting symptoms of an allergic reaction (you might not always know they are allergic till it happens.)

6. Burning Up: Obvious fever, feels hot to touch. Fever over 100.4 should be sent home and stay home until 24 hours fever free (as a general guideline but some districts may have different rules).

7. Big Bump: Witnessed head injuries resulting in bruises, bumps, change in mental status or bleeding. “I bumped my head on a wall while in the bathroom/walking down the hall/etc etc” and they don’t have any concerning symptoms then it is safe to wait for the nurse to be available. Chances are, when they wait a few minutes they will forget about it.

8. Seizures: A student or an adult who is having a seizure should be addressed immediately. Call the nurse right away and note the exact time the seizure started so the nurse can time it. In general a seizure lasting greater than 5 minutes will require a call to 911 and possibly emergency medications if available.

9. Allergic Reactions: Someone who is short of breath, has hives, wheezing, facial swelling, tongue swelling, difficulty speaking, change in mental status, loss of consciousness, or has a known allergy and has been exposed to the known allergen should emergently see the nurse (or call the nurse to come to the scene). Hopefully the student has an Epi-pen if there is a known allergy but 911 and parents should likely be called depending on the situation.

10. Diabetic Emergencies/Management: A student who is a known diabetic and is experiencing loss of consciousness, changes in mental status (drowsy, confused, speech slurred) should be seen immediately. A student who is a known diabetic and feels that he needs a blood sugar check or feels unwell should be permitted to see the nurse immediately. A student who has scheduled times to manage blood sugars and insulin should see the nurse at the correct times.

11. Any student with a known medical condition that may require nursing intervention should be sent to the nurse as soon as possible.

What is NOT considered an emergency?

1. Potty Accidents: For my district potty accidents are not a nursing issue. The students should have extra clothes but if they don’t then parents should be called to bring them clean clothes. Check with your nurse to see what procedure is.

2. Seasonal Allergies: There is nothing the school nurse can do to manage seasonal allergies in school unless a student has medications that have been ordered by the doctor and the proper paperwork to dispense it. In general, if a student has allergies then it should be managed at home. A parent can always be called to address the issue if needed but it is not an emergent issue.

3. Mosquito bites/bug bites (aside from bee stings): In general, not an emergency. The nurse (in my district) can administer Hydrocortisone cream to an itchy bug bite but for the most part they have to wait it out.

4. Loose Teeth: Definitely not an emergency. A teacher is more than welcome to explain to a student that loose teeth are a natural, normal part of life and need no intervention aside from wiggling it till it comes out and the occasional mouth rinse if bleeding. Loose teeth may bleed, and they may be sore but such is life. Some nurses may be comfortable with pulling teeth but I choose not to do that as I feel it is a procedure that some parents may not prefer I do. It’s safer to just not do it.

5. Minor cuts and scrapes with or without bleeding: if the nurse is not available then the student can wait. If the teacher has bandaids then they may give one. A student may stay in class until it is an appropriate time to leave.

6. Dirty Clothes/got water on them/spilled food: This is not an emergency. Water dries, food can be wiped off. Chronically unkempt students should be addressed by the nurse and/or the counselor but it is not emergent to leave a class and manage unless the teacher feels it is an appropriate time.

Another idea that I learned that one could try is a “sick bench” for recess. In general students should not be leaving recess and lunch to visit the nurse as they have greater ability to wander or be away from their class without permission. Often, if they complain that they are sick at recess, have a tummy ache, or bumped themselves on something they can have a time out on the sick bench and take a break. You will notice that often waiting a few minutes cures them. Pain subsides, tummy aches from running around and playing hard will subside on their own.

A teacher or staff member has the ability to triage students health needs and make the call if they need to leave class right away and see the nurse or if they need to wait until the current lesson is finished before leaving. As always, everyone has the option to call the nurse and ask questions or discuss issues they have concerns about.

This is not an issue of “the nurse doesn’t want to see kids” but an issue of trying to keep the kids in their classes and cut out extraneous wandering about the school, and staying out of class. Our responsibility is keeping butts in seats as much as possible by keeping sick kids out and healthy kids in their classes.

Update: Here is a Google Slide deck of this article for your convenience: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Is-It-An-Emergency-presentation-8154471

Why Is It So Hard To Be A New Nurse Among Experienced Nurses?

We’ve all heard that little expression “nurses eat their young” and give a little giggle because #newnurses, right? They are often young, inexperienced in nursing, inexperienced in life and in need of guidance by more experienced folks like ourselves.

I’ve seen and experienced this type of bullying among nurses throughout my career in healthcare and it really burns me up. It’s not even always “older” nurses or more experienced nurses but other nurses in general who feel like they have something to prove to whoever else they can try to bully into a false “respect”. In my experience it has also been my peers who were at exactly the same level of education and experience as myself attacking because they thought they could.

I’ve been on both sides of this. I have seen both how it feels to be irritated by some 20 year old hot shot who thinks they know everything right out of the gate, and how it feels to be the noob getting bossed around by everyone who thinks they know better.

I’ve seen fresh out of the boards noobs walk onto the unit and declare “I’m bored” or even better “I have my master’s degree and I’m better than you” before they even got a chance to see or do anything. Put. Your. Time. In.

I’ve been on the receiving end of older nurses saying to my face “You can’t tell me anything because I’ve been at this for longer than you and you don’t know anything!” I’ve been a fairly inexperienced team lead where the others just roll their eyes and do whatever they want because they can, not giving me the chance to prove myself.

What frustrates me the most about this whole topic is not so much “older” nurses bullying newer nurses, but the concept that some of the more experienced nurses just assume that someone new to them is also new to everything. Just because I’m new to your unit or to this particular job does not mean I am totally clueless. Just because I look younger than I am does not mean that I am young and stupid.

I’ve started on a new unit and had nurses with experience on that unit speak to me like I was a child and try to explain things to me like how to spike a bag, or how to manage a stretcher (FYI, once upon a time, I was a stretcher pushing PROFESSIONAL), or how to do an EKG (again, EKG pro here! I can’t read them that well admittedly, but I can perform one with the best of them!). I had them be shocked and amazed that I can pop in an IV like it wasn’t that hard – Bruh. I was an ER nurse. That’s what we do. Why all the shock that the newbie knows how to do her job?

Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t all be open to listening and learning because that is one of the most important things about being a nurse – learning! Everyone from the nurse of 35 years to the nurse who is still studying for their boards should be open to learning new information, procedures, evidence based research, and best practice for patient care.

We should be listening to each other and giving a mutual earned respect for each other’s education and background. New or old, we all have a unique life experience that shapes what we know and what we do. A new nurse might be more up to date on current policies and procedures which an older nurse may not be aware of because “we always did it that way”. An older nurse should be listened to because she’s done the things, put the time in, and learned what works and what doesn’t.

Currently I’m working as a school nurse, as you all know. I’m fairly new to this particular area of nursing but certainly not new to being a nurse, dealing with kids, dealing with adults and parents, or understanding pediatrics in general. We weren’t given an extraordinary amount of training for this specific job compared to the many months of intense orientation on the critical care units in the hospital that I’m used to. We (the almost 300 nurses in the network) kind of rely on each other to understand our specific policies. It doesn’t mean I don’t know how to be a nurse, it just means I don’t always know the very specific details of some policies just yet.

My message for the new nurses, younger nurses, or new-to-this-unit nurses is this: listen to the ones with experience. Be open to learning always. No matter how many years of experience you get under your belt, there’s always something new to learn. Be teachable. Don’t walk into any unit and assume you know everything and can take charge. Go ahead and get your master’s degree but understand that it’s a piece of paper and classes you took, not real life experience. Get. The. Experience.

My message to the experienced and older nurses: Don’t assume the new people are young, dumb, and annoying. Don’t be offended when a newer nurse tells you something you didn’t know. Give constructive criticism without tearing the other person down. Be a teacher. Be a supporter. Be an encouragement. Don’t be a jerk.

Environmental Health and Your School: What You Need to Worry About (and What You Don’t). Part 1: Asbestos

We’ve all seen on the news lately about Philadelphia schools closing left and right over damaged asbestos and other possible toxins being found in the old buildings. There is a lot to be concerned about with this issue, but there are also some misconceptions. What are we to do if we are concerned about environmental toxin exposure in our buildings?

The biggest things we need to be worried about in the buildings we spend our time in is the DAMAGED asbestos, flaking lead paint, mold growth that isn’t easily visible, and mouse/rat/vermin infestations. I’ll get into why we do and why we don’t need to worry about this stuff!

I’ll get right into the big one that we are all worried about right now: ASBESTOS! Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral found in some rocks that was discovered to have fabulous properties of being impervious to fire, damage or destruction. Asbestos is basically very tiny fibers that are not really able to be seen with the naked eye but when combined with other materials it was very useful. After its discovery it was used in lots of construction materials because it seemed like a really great find. They put it in literally everything from building insulation, roof tiles, floor tiles, wallboard, cement, even some types of heating unit parts (since it’s fireproof, it’s great on a heater because it won’t burn up). Asbestos is currently banned in over 60 countries but currently still a legal and used material in America. According to Dr. Frank from Drexel University’s Environmental and Occupational Health, after 1986 all schools are required by law to be inspected twice a year for loose or damaged asbestos and the reports for each school be made available to the public.

Why is asbestos such a big deal then if it’s so great? Well, it has two properties that make it awesome and also terrible: it’s indestructible and it’s made of almost invisible fibers. When you have loose fibers that are not contained in some other material and they make their way into your lungs those fibers are stuck there. Since the fibers are virtually indestructible and practically invisible they aren’t going to go away. As long as those fibers are stuck there they are blocking your air exchange from working like it should and they are causing your lungs to develop scars which further damages your ability to breathe effectively. Aside from permanent irreparable lung damage, the stuck fibers will can also cause lung cancer or a cancer called Mesothelioma, and other cancers like ovary or throat and mouth cancers. This. Is. A. Big. Deal.

If construction is being done or the suspicion of damaged asbestos is present then a professional will need to inspect and abate the asbestos correctly. The inspectors will visually assess the areas in question and determine what needs further testing and what material if any is visually identified as asbestos. The professional inspectors will take material samples and air samples collected in a filter system and examine it under a microscope to determine the presence of asbestos. They compare the findings to a scale of “safe” levels (because there are safe levels??) and then make a plan for abatement (removal) of said asbestos.

The removal of the asbestos should be performed by a trained licensed professional. They will follow the set standards by the EPA and OSHA (among others) for safe removal and cleaning. Generally this involves plastic shields to close off the areas, hepa vacuums which capture the fibers in their filters, and proper removal techniques. People who are not wearing respirator masks or are not trained in asbestos management should not be present in the home or building while this procedure is taking place. The air and material samples must be clear before anyone can inhabit the area safely.

If you are spending your time in a room with all intact asbestos walls, floor tiles, roof shingles, etc, then you likely have nothing to worry about. As long as everything is confirmed intact and not falling apart then you’re good. If you are in a place, however, with known asbestos insulation, broken floors, broken walls, or any kind of non-intact asbestos product then you are at risk. It takes a fairly long time of being exposed to the asbestos to actually become sick from it. Not everyone who is exposed will develop asbestos related disease. If you suspect that you or your child are being exposed and seeing any related health issues (chronic respiratory problems, worsening asthma) then you should definitely have an evaluation by a doctor.

If you think you or anyone is being exposed to loose asbestos some symptoms to look for are: constant dry cough even though they aren’t sick with an obvious cold, wheezing, worsening of existing asthma, shortness of breath (aside from a normal cold), and chest pain and/or chest tightness. Some people that have been exposed for a long time – many years – may experience bowel obstruction, weight loss, cancers of lungs and ovaries, or “clubbed” fingernails (the fingernails take a rounded shape and curve over, this is a symptom of chronic respiratory issues, among other things).

If you suspect that you are exposed to asbestos in the school building, the first thing to do is contact the administration in that school (principal, assistant principal). You can also contact the school district and voice your concerns an see what they know about it and what they are doing about it if anything. For my district, you can go on this page to see a lot of information about what is happening in our schools with the current asbestos and other issues: https://www.philasd.org/capitalprograms/programsservices/environmental/ahera/#1576083576879-a897e2ab-5cb2

Let your voice be heard. Be loud and don’t let anyone shut you down if you are worried. This is not an issue to be taken lightly or ignored. We want to keep our children safe and keep our staff safe so we can be the best us we can be!

Some resources to learn more about asbestos can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/asbestoshttps://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/overview.html

https://www.philasd.org/capitalprograms/wp-content/uploads/sites/18/2019/11/Dr.-Frank-FAQs-About-Asbestos.pdf

https://www.philasd.org/capitalprograms/wp-content/uploads/sites/18/2019/12/Asbestos_-Facts-or-Fiction.pdf

https://www.asbestos.com/asbestos/

In the next post I will give a little info about some of the other environmental toxins we may encounter and how to deal with them.

%d bloggers like this: