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From The Health Office

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Recently we have seen many cases of the “common cold” at school. Here is some information that we’d like to share with you:

What is common cold?

A common cold also known simply as a cold, is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract that primarily affects the nose. The throat, sinuses, and voice box may also be affected. Signs and symptoms may begin less than two days following exposure. Usually school-aged children catch a common cold between three – eight times in a year.

There are more than 200 known viruses that cause a common cold. The virus attaches itself to a cell (the line on the nose and throat) and then multiplies, causing the familiar symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, cough, congestion, slight body ache, sneezing, mild headache and a low-grade fever. Some cold viruses attach to the cells in your lower respiratory tract and cause coughs as well as runny noses and sore throat.

How the colds spread?

Colds may be spread through coughing or sneezing. Touching the skin of someone who has the infected droplets on their skin and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. Inhaling tiny droplets of fluid that contain the cold virus – these are launched into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. If you shake, touch or hold the hand of an infected person (who may not have apparent symptoms) and then touch your eyes or nose, you are more likely to infect yourself with the virus. Also, you can catch a cold if you touch your eyes or nose after touching a hard, nonporous surface, such a telephone or doorknob, shortly after an infected person has touched it.

Symptoms

The aches and pains that we usually feel when catching a common cold are signs that the body is fighting the infection. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery and red eyes
  • Muscle aches
  • Low-grade fever
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite.

These symptoms usually last from 2 - 7 days. A cough may last longer than this, but as the illness improves, the cough is usually dry and the fever has gone away.

What to do?

There is no cure for the common cold. You can try the following to reduce symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink plenty fluids
  • Use cold compress to relieved headache
  • Saline drops to wash away secretions
  • Take a long, hot shower to relieve nasal congestion
  • Take fever and pain relief medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Take cough medicine with expectorant

Prevention

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after eating, using the bathroom, coughing and sneezing.
  • Avoid being around healthy people if you are sick, and vice-versa as this minimizes the chances of spreading the disease.
  • Avoid sharing food and drinks with others.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing; avoid or minimize handshake and wash hands after handshake.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as germs spread in this way.
  • Stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.
  • Clean and disinfect hard surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs, including bathroom surfaces, kitchen counters and kids’ toys. Clean by wiping them with a household disinfectant according to the directions on the product label.

When to seek for help

  • If you have a high or persistent fever.
  • If you have asthma or allergies and are coughing up green phlegm.
  • If you have a severe headache.
  • If you can’t hold down your liquids.
  • If you just aren’t getting better after a period of time.

ICS policies with regards to illness/sickness

When a student becomes ill with symptoms of fever, vomiting or diarrhea, the student should stay at home and he or she can return to ICS after 24 hours of being free of symptoms of fever (without medication), vomiting or diarrhea. All medication prescribed by a doctor will need to be given to the Health Office while the student is at school. You’ll also need to inform the respective school offices (elementary, middle or high school) to inform that the student is ill and is staying at home.