School nurse to students: sick? Stay home until well
It’s that time of the year when the flu and other bugs start hitting students at school. Chase County Schools Nurse Angie Paisley said student absence due to sickness started to rise last week.
She said absences have been averaging 35-40 students per day, starting last week into this week. It’s hitting little kids all the way through high school, she noted. Her best advice for students: “If you’re sick, stay home.” That’s the best thing a student can do, she noted. Staying home allows the student to rest and doesn’t expose others to the same sickness.
Only about 10 percent of the absences have been attributed to true influenza. Symptoms for the respiratory virus include fever, cough, body aches and headaches. She noted if symptoms are recognized early enough, an antiviral medicine can be prescribed to reduce the length of the sickness.
The stomach bug, gastro-enteritis, represents a big share of the sickness she’s seeing. Some of the other issues include upper respiratory problems, pinkeye, strep throat and mononucleosis. She’s already seen several cases of mono in high school students.
Washing one’s hands often helps prevent the spread of sickness, she said. She also advised against sharing water bottles or food. Girls’ basketball coach and teacher Mark Bottom said Paisley has been proactive about trying to avoid sickness. He said several players have been diagnosed with mono, with one returning after missing almost three weeks. They took a day off of practice last week, he said, because six girls were out sick and several others weren’t feeling well. Plus, they’ve had a busy game and travel schedule and were needing some rest. He said some of his players are still fighting illness.
Ronda Sargent, manager at the Chase County Clinic, said the last two weeks have been very busy. She said they’ve been seeing a wide age range of patients from young to old. She said they’ve implemented a mask policy in the waiting room for people who are coming in sick. She added they have also separated the waiting area for those who are sick and those who are not.
They are also encouraging people who are not sick to wear a mask as a preventative measure. She said they have seen numerous cases of Influenza A. It’s mostly affected children under 15 and adults over 65.
The clinic has also confirmed a few cases of Influenza B in the younger population. Fortunately, she said no one has had to be hospitalized due to sickness. The hospital has not restricted visiting hours and likely won’t if the outbreak starts to subside, she added.