Tips from a school nurse

COUNTYWIDE — There are many things parents and students can do to stay healthy throughout the school year!

Wash your hands often: Frequent hand washing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stay healthy in school and at home. Remind children to wash their hands before eating and after using the bathroom, blowing their noses or playing outside.  Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while you scrub, and turn off the faucet until you are ready to rinse.

Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze: Children should cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbows to prevent the spread of infectious droplets through the air.

Keep hands away from your eyes and mouth: Hands are often covered in germs.

Don’t share water bottles, food or other personal items: If you put the item into your mouth, keep it to yourself.

Keep children home from school when they are ill: Never send children to school if they have a fever, diarrhea, nauseous or vomiting. Children who lose their appetite, are clingy or lethargic, complain of pain or who just don’t seem to be acting “themselves” should also take a sick day.

Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep and stay current on recommended and required vaccinations, including a yearly flu vaccine: To prevent spreading illness at home, use these same tips for all members of the family!

Vaccination information for parentsVaccines are among the safest and most cost-effective ways to prevent disease and keep children healthy.  As a new school year approaches, parents are encouraged to review their children’s immunization records.

Florida requires documentation of age-appropriate vaccinations for all school-age children, pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade. Children entering kindergarten and seventh grade are typically due for vaccines and must meet the legal requirement for school entry.

Be sure to turn in the immunization form to your child’s school!  According to the law, kindergarten and seventh-grade students are not allowed to attend class if schools do not have proper documentation of immunization.

Vaccines help children develop immunity to infectious diseases such as measles, chickenpox, polio and whooping cough. Vaccines benefit individual students and other members of the community that are unable to be vaccinated.

For immunization information, contact your child’s physician or the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas at 727-824-6900. The DOH provides free immunizations at health centers throughout the county.

For any additional questions on school health, please call Pinellas County Schools Health Services department at 727-588-6320 or visit the Health Services page of the district’s website.

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