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News from the Nurse

Dear Parents, Guardians and Students,

NurseTomeyOne type of meningitis is caused by a bacterium called Neisseria meningitidis. Infections caused by this bacterium are serious, and may lead to death. Symptoms of an infection with Neisseria meningitidis may include a high fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, confusion and a rash. This disease can become severe very quickly and often leads to deafness, mental retardation, loss of arms or legs and even death. The bacteria are spread from close person to person contact through the exchange of nose and throat secretions, by activities such as kissing or sharing eating or drinking utensils. The
bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.

There are two vaccines that can help prevent cases of this disease in teens and young adults. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination of children with the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra and Menveo) at 11 or 12 years of age, with a booster dose of the vaccine at 16 years of age. The booster dose at age 16 provides ongoing protection from the disease after high school.

The state of Indiana requires all students in grades 6-12 to have the appropriate number of meningococcal conjugate vaccine doses. One dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine is required for all students in 6th -11th grade. A second booster dose is required for students entering 12th grade. These vaccines are a legal requirement for school entry (Indiana Administrative Code 410 IAC 1-1-1) for the 2015-2016 school year.

All students in grades 6-12 must have acceptable documentation of required immunizations on record at the school they are currently attending. An acceptable record includes a signed record from the child's health care provider indicating the name of the vaccine given and the date it was given, a record of the immunization in the state immunization registry (CHIRP) prior to the start of the school year, or a record from another school showing the required immunizations have been given. Many local health departments and private healthcare providers offer this vaccine. Please contact your health care provider for specific instructions regarding your child.

More information about Meningococcal Disease can be found at:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:
IN State Department of Health website:

Influenza Update
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Asthma Awareness

Take Control of Asthma!  Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases among children and the leading cause of school absences. When a child has asthma, the inside walls of the airways of the lungs are swollen and more sensitive than the airways of a person who does not have asthma. The airways react more strongly to things like animal dander, cockroaches, dust mites, exercise, mold, pollen, and tobacco smoke. These are called asthma triggers, but not every person with asthma has the same triggers. Common symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

Although asthma cannot be cured, it can be controlled. Steps to control asthma include: taking medicines, staying away from asthma triggers, and watching for early symptoms. By taking steps to control asthma, children with asthma can play sports, join in physical education classes, and go on field trips.

To make sure your child can be a part of school activities:
  • Provide an asthma action plan to the school that lists your child’s triggers, current medications, and what to do if symptoms occur.
  • Keep an extra inhaler at school and provide medication forms to the school nurse. Indiana law allows students to carry and take their inhalers at school if correct forms from a doctor are given to the school each year.
  • Speak with your child’s teachers, coaches, and the school nurse about his/her triggers and make sure they each have a copy of the asthma action plan.
  • Tips for Exercise-Induced Asthma
  • Some inhalers can be used before exercise to prevent attacks. Ask your doctor to see if this is right for your child’s asthma and current inhaler.
  • Warm-up and cool-down activities have been shown to help.
  • Activities with constant effort like running, cycling, soccer, and basketball may cause more symptoms. Activities with a short burst of energy followed by rest or activities that are less intense such as swimming, walking, baseball, softball, and weight lifting may cause fewer symptoms.
  • Indoor activity may be needed on Ozone Action Days, high pollen or mold count days, or days with very high or low temperatures. Cold, dry air is a common outdoor trigger, and it may help to wear a scarf or cold air mask over the mouth on cold days.
Remember that long-term control of asthma by taking medicines properly and staying away from triggers helps prevent asthma attacks. If your child uses a quick-relief inhaler more than twice a week, wakes up at night from asthma symptoms more than twice a month, misses school due to asthma, or cannot join in school activities, his/her asthma may not be under control and you should talk with your doctor. Your doctor may need to change the dose or type of medicine your child is taking. By controlling asthma, you can reduce school absences and help children learn better.

For more information on asthma or to access the forms listed above, visit the Indiana State Department of Health Asthma Program’s Web site ( or call the toll free number for the Indiana Family Helpline: 1-800-433-0746.

Thank you,
Paula Owens RN