Health Updates

Ms. Judy Gilbert

May 2015:

Black Fly season in Maine is upon us!

Black flies are small black insects that come out in May until July. For most people they are just a nuisance, but some people unfortunately react quite badly to their bites with redness, swelling and itchiness.
Some things you can do to prevent them from biting are: wearing light colored clothing; covering as much skin as possible and avoiding being out in early morning and early evening when they are more active. Insect repellents are available also–both chemical and natural.

If you do get bitten and have a reaction to the bites putting ice on them helps relieve the itchiness, redness and swelling. There are also commercial creams that can be used such as Hydrocortisone and Diphenhydramine. If you are concerned about any bites you get you can come see me in the Health center also.

January 2015:

Maine Public Health Alert: Widespread Influenza Activity in Maine

I still have some doses of student vaccine left from the fall clinic. Any parents who would like to have their students vaccinated against the influenza virus can contact me via email or phone (207-564-1574). Please download the consent form and information statement.

November 2013:

How to prevent FROSTBITE this winter

September 2013:

Influenza Vaccination Clinic

Vaccination Information Statement

What to do after the shot

Permission form

June 2013 Announcements:

A letter to the parents of boarding students regarding Foxcroft Academy’s policy on medications in the dormitories.

December 2012 Announcements:

It’s cold and flu season in Maine

November 2012 Announcements:

Influenza has officially arrived in Maine. The first two positive influenza A cases were detected by Affiliated Laboratory Inc. early last week. These cases were in a young adult from Aroostook county and a teenager from Penobscot county. Neither patient was vaccinated, had traveled recently, or required hospitalization. A long term care facility in Penobscot reported an outbreak of influenza on October 31. Maine’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL) confirmed influenza A in an employee and a resident from the facility on Friday November 2. HETL typed all 4 samples as seasonal influenza A (H3). Influenza A (2009 H1N1), influenza A (H3), and influenza B are all currently circulating nationally. The current 2012-2013 influenza vaccine contains components of all three strains (H1, H3 and B) and is likely to offer good protection.

We just completed a successful influenza vaccine clinic for our students at FA yesterday (November 14), vaccinating 75. I do have some vaccine left, so if your student was not vaccinated and you would like that done, I will administer vaccines on a first-come, first-served basis. Download the permission slip (link below), complete and sign it, and send it in with your student to the Health Center.

October 2012 Announcements:

Influenza vaccination clinic on November 14

Influenza vaccine permission form

Influenza vaccine fact sheet

More info on Influenza vaccine

Infection Prevention Tips:

Tip #1:

Washing your hands with soap and water is the number one way to prevent the spread of infection. When should you wash? After using the bathroom, before eating, before and after handling food, after you sneeze/cough, any time your hands are soiled. If no soap/water available, hand sanitizers work too. Hand sanitizers are in almost all classrooms and common areas at FA.

Tip #2:

Stay home if you are sick, especially with flu like symptoms which may include: high fever, severe cough/body aches/head ache, severe tiredness, diarrhea, vomiting. Currently the recommendation is to remain home until temperature is normal for 24 hours.

Tip #3:

Avoid sharing things like drinks, chap sticks, lipsticks, etc with your friends.

Tip #4:

Sneeze or cough into a tissue if available, then discard into a trash can and wash your hands or sneeze or cough into your elbow area

Tip #5:

Avoid touching your hands to mouth/nose/eyes or other mucus membranes. Many viruses and bacteria that live on surfaces are transmitted that way.

Tip #6:

Consider getting a flu vaccine this fall. The current recommendations are for everyone ages 6mos and over to be immunized against the flu. We will be offering this vaccine to students at school again this year.

Tip #7:

Remember that washing your hands thoroughly and frequently is the best way to prevent the spread of infections! There is lots of information on flu prevention on the  website.  CDC stands for centers for disease control.

Whooping cough:

Maine, like many other states, has been experiencing an increasing number of pertussis (whooping cough) cases over the past year. During January 1 – August 17, 2012, 381 pertussis cases have been reported to Maine CDC from all 16 Maine counties. This number far exceeds the 82 reported pertussis cases during the same period in 2011 and the total number of reported cases that year (205). In Maine, the majority of cases have been in those aged 7-19 years.

Pertussis is a highly communicable, vaccine-preventable disease that can last for many weeks. It is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory secretions of infected persons. Classic pertussis symptoms include paroxysmal cough, whoop, and posttussive vomiting.  Pertussis patients with a history of vaccine often have a milder course of illness with only a long cough duration. Pertussis can cause serious illness and can even be life-threatening, especially in infants.   Immunity to pertussis following infection is not lifelong. Persons with a history of pertussis should continue to receive pertussis-containing vaccines according to the recommended schedule. Because vaccination is not 100% effective and immunity wanes over time, even fully vaccinated persons can become infected with pertussis.

Click here for more information about whooping cough.


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