Greetings to our SBJC families! It’s Nurse Laura, writing to you from the SBJC Prime Time Nursing Office. I recently joined the SBJC nursing team and have enjoyed meeting your children over the last few months. I am looking forward to all the wonderful things to come! In the Nurses’ Corner this month, I would like to highlight some important items as we welcome the new season.
At SBJC, we enjoy celebrating all occasions in a BIG way! These celebrations often involve the sharing of tasty treats. While the school nurses support all of these fun activities, it is our role to monitor the health of our students at all times. Many school-aged children have been diagnosed with food allergies; high among them is an allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. For this reason, fun non-food items such as stickers, books and pencils are preferred for school festivities. In the event that food items are brought to school, store purchased prepackaged nut-free items with clear ingredient labels are preferred and allow us to best ensure the safety of all students. We request that parents refrain from sending home baked items.
Some food manufactures have created allergy-sensitive items to provide safe nutrition for students, such as the School Safe® brand that can be purchased at many local supermarkets including Shop Rite, Wegmans, Fairway, CTown and Whole Foods. Snacksafely.com has developed a “Safe Snack Guide” which provides an interactive list of allergy-friendly products and can serve as a great resource for parents and schools when planning school activities involving food. This guide is updated frequently throughout the year can and can be accessed at https://snacksafely.com/safe-snack-guide//. Because manufacturers may change their ingredients and preparation processes at any time, it is important that labels are reviewed before products are purchased for school activities, even if the item has previously been known to be free of a particular allergen. If you are a parent of a child with multiple food allergies, we encourage you to provide a safe food box to be kept in your child’s classroom, containing fun treats that he/she can safely consume during school parties. While it is important that we are allergy-aware every day, it is especially significant as we welcome the many celebrations of the holiday season.
Another topic that I would briefly like to touch upon is common winter illnesses. The cold weather can be dangerous and may trigger various health problems. Some illnesses, such as sore throats, colds, seasonal flu and gastroenteritis are more prevalent during the winter. A child who is sick will not be able to perform well in school and is likely to spread the illness to other students. Please assess your child every morning and keep him/her home if signs of illness are displayed. Our health office guidelines can be accessed on the SBJC website for reference if needed. You may also call the School Nurse assigned to your child’s school if you have specific questions regarding your child’s health and school attendance. Some precautions to take this season for yourself and your child(ren) include:
- Wash hands often with soap and water
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth
- Avoid close contact with those who are already sick
- Get plenty of sleep, exercise and manage stress
- Eat healthy food and drink plenty of fluids
- Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or the crook of the arm.
- Get a flu shot – it’s not too late to be protected! According to NJ state requirements, all students up to age 59 months (5 years old) are required to receive the flu vaccine annually by December 31st. The flu vaccine is strongly recommended, but not required for students aged 5 years and up. Getting vaccinated protects yourself as well as those around you. While the flu vaccine is not perfect and some people who get vaccinated may still get the flu, data suggests that flu vaccination may make the illness less severe.
On behalf of our nursing team, I would like to say that it is truly a pleasure caring for your children and watching them grow each and every day. We wish you a truly magical holiday season and a healthy New Year.
Laura Sgalia RN, CSN
SBJC East Rutherford/Prime Time Nurse
Laura Sgalia, RN, CSN