Wellness Topics




    Definition: Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the lining that covers the white of the eye and lines the undersurface of the eyelid.

    Symptoms: The inflammation is accompanied by redness of the white of the eye. In addition, there is an accumulation of pus in the eye. This discharge may cause the eyelids to stick together, especially during sleep. The eyes may tear, redden, feel gritty or sandy, and burn. The eyelids may swell as well. Conjunctivitis can affect persons of all ages, not just children.
    Causes: Conjunctivitis can be caused by infection, allergies, or an irritant in the eye. Infectious conjunctivitis is highly contagious. The infection is spread through direct contact with discharge from the eye or through indirect contact with objects handled by the infected individual.
    Treatment: Contact your physician for treatment. Infectious conjunctivitis will respond readily to treatment and often antibiotic eye drops will be prescribed. Avoid non-prescription eye drops as they can often make the condition worse. If diagnosed as infectious by a physician, children should be kept home from school for at least 24 hours after the treatment has been started. Do not rub the eyes. The infection can be spread from the infected eye to the uninfected eye by rubbing. Practice proper hand washing in order to prevent spreading the infection. Wash the eyelids with warm water to remove extra secretions or crusting. However, be careful not to spread any fluid from one eye into the other.
    • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water
    • Do not put any foreign substances in the eyes
    • Do not forcefully rub the eyes
    • Avoid close personal contact with those infected
    • Avoid contact with objects handled by the infected person (i.e. towels, make up, toys)

    Coping with Stressful Events

    Individuals perceive and exhibit physical signs of stress differently. Common signs of stress include fear, anxiety, grief, depression and change in appetite and/or sleep patterns.
    When an event or multiple events cause an individual to experience a lot of stress, the event is classified as a traumatic event. Traumatic events may impact a person who has experienced a situation first- hand or watched television broadcasts of the event. Children can experience traumatic stress. It is important for parents to have conversations with children to help them feel secure and understand the world in which they live. When talking with your own children or advising parents on talking with children about violence, war and terrorism the following information can be helpful to remember.
    1. Repetitive frightening images watched on television can be very disturbing. Censor the type and amount of television watched.
    2. Do not force children to talk until they are ready. Some children are more comfortable expressing feelings through play, drawing picture or writing stories.
    3. Children tend to personalize situations and may worry about individuals they associate with events and/or locations.
    4. Give simple explanations using simple language. Do not overwhelm the child with too much information.
    5. Give honest answers and information.
    6. Let the child know their questions and concern are important.
    7. Be consistent and reassuring, but don’t give unrealistic promises.
    8. Children learn from watching adults interact. It is okay to let children know how you feel, but do not burden them with your worries.
    9. Do not confront a child’s way of handling events. Sometimes children quantify things differently than adults (e.g., really far away) and need to do so in order to cope with the event.
    10. Children are reassured by structure and familiarity. Establish routines. Coordinate information between home and school. Let teachers know a child’s fears and concerns. Let children be children. Playing and participating in regular activities can be very therapeutic.
    Remember, most children are resilient. Even those who experience traumatic stress can and do get through these events and go on with their lives. Parents and other adults can best help children cope by providing a supportive environment.

    Ear Infections


    Definition: Otitis media, inflammation of the middle ear, is defined by the presence of fluid in the middle ear. Signs or symptoms of illness can also accompany the inflammation. This condition is most commonly caused by an infection. However, allergies or changes in altitude may cause the inflammation.

    Symptoms: A child may experience the following symptoms:
    • No symptoms
    • Severe earache
    • Fever
    • Crankiness
    • Drowsiness
    • Lack of appetite
    • Ear drainage
    • Crying related to pain
    • Inflammation of the nose and throat
    • Pulling on or rubbing ear
    • Impaired hearing
    Causes:The middle ear is connected to the back of the throat by the Eustachian tube, which allows fluid to drain from the ear. When the tube gets plugged, the middle ear begins to fill with fluid, causing severe pain. In young children the Eustachian tube is very narrow. The tube enlarges by adolescence, which is why most illness occurs in the first 3 years of life.
    Treatment: Seek medical care immediately. Not seeking treatment can cause permanent damage to the ear. If the physician orders antibiotics, be sure to use all of the prescription. Return to the physician for a recheck of the ear.
    • Teach small children to blow their noses gently.
    • Do not feed or bottle feed infants lying on their backs. Germs from the mouth can enter the middle ear more easily from that position.

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    Fifth Disease

    Cause: Human Parvovirus B19
    Symptoms: Symptoms include: rash, possible fever and/or sore throat. The characteristic rash causes a striking redness of the cheeks in children. The rash often begins on the cheeks and progresses to the arms, upper body, buttocks, and legs. The rash is very fine, lacy and pink in appearance. The rash tends to come and go for days or even weeks, especially as a response to sunlight or heat. In general, the rash around the face will fade within 3-7 days of appearance. Pain and swelling of the joints may occur.
    Spread: The virus is spread from person-to-person through contact with infected respiratory secretions. School and community outbreaks are common in late winter and spring, but infection occurs year round. The virus usually incubates 4-14 days before symptoms appear and is only transmittable to others before the rash appears.
    Prevention: Handwashing and proper tissue disposal can reduce transmission. Control: Females of childbearing age who are in constant contact with children (i.e. teachers) should seek medical advice about the risk of fifth disease before they are exposed during pregnancy.
    Treatment: None
    Exclusion from school: A child with a rash of any kind should be excluded until diagnosed by a physician. Usually the child is able to return to school after diagnosis is made.

    Head Lice

    Definition: An infestation of very small, tan-colored lice (pediculosis) that live on the human head. Lice depend on the human host for nutrients with their main food source being human blood. However, it is possible for lice to live for up to 24 hours off of the human host. Lice lay their eggs (nits) close to the scalp. Their eggs are very small and are normally white or gray in color. They appear as small white specks on the hair shaft and often resemble dandruff. Nits differ however in that they cannot be easily flicked off of the hair shaft the way dandruff can.
    Symptoms: Itching of the scalp and neck. Look for:
    • Crawling lice in the hair, usually few in number
    • Eggs (nits) glued to the hair, often found at the back of the neck
    • Scratch marks on the scalp or back of neck at hairline
    Spread:  By direct contact with the head of another infested person. Indirect spread through contact with personal belongings of an infested person (as, combs, brushes, hats, scarves, bedding) is less likely but can occur. Transmission most often occurs among household members because of the close proximity of living conditions.
    Lice do not jump or fly; they crawl and can fall off the head. Lice do not live longer than 48 hours off the head. They lay their eggs only while on the head. Nits which are more than ¼” from the scalp are dead or empty and will not hatch. Also, eggs do not hatch if they have fallen off. Lice do not spread to or from pets as they do not become infested. However, pets may carry the lice from one person to another. Avoid close contact with pets and refrain from permitting animals to sleep with household members
    Treatment:  Pediculicides, either lice-killing shampoo or lotion, either purchased over-thecounter or by prescription (from a physician). Instructions must be followed carefully. Shampooing should be rinsed off over a sink rather than in a shower or tub, and with cool rather than warm water, to reduce skin absorption of the pediculicides. Do not use crème rinse before doing the treatment.
    If live lice are seen after treatment, try a different brand.
    For some medications, a second treatment is needed 7 – 10 days later to kill nits that have survived the first treatment.
    Remove nits from the hair with a fine-toothed comb.
    Wait 1-2 days before shampooing the hair but then shampoo at least twice a week for 2 weeks. Vigorously combing out the wet hair seems to slow down the lice.
    Avoid over-use of pediculicides to avoid toxic exposure.
    1. Avoid sharing hair care items, towels, bedding, clothing, hats, and headgear.
    2. Hang clothing in individual lockers or on assigned coat hooks. Hooks should be spaced at least 12 inches apart so that clothing does not touch.
    3. Clean items such as clothing, furniture or carpeting that have come in contact with the head of the infested person in the 24 to 48 hours before treatment. Wash, soak or dry items at temperatures 130º F to kill stray lice or nits. Furniture, carpeting, car seats, etc., may be vacuumed. Items that cannot be washed can be dry cleaned or bagged in plastic for 2 weeks, by which time any nits that may have survived would have hatched and nymphs would be without food source. Pediculicide spray should not be used because the chemical exposure cannot be controlled. Nits are unlikely to incubate
    Exclusion from school: Not Necessary


    The flu (influenza) is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs that is caused by influenza virus. The flu can spread from person to person. Most people with flu are sick for about a week, but then feel better. However, some people (especially young children, pregnant women, older people, and people with chronic health problems) can get very sick and some can die. There are many types of influenza and this information should be reviewed is the flu is suspected.

    Cold versus the Flu

    Children, the Flu, and the Flu Vaccine

    Gripe Pandémica (PDF)




    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly infectious and usually mild illness that is easily transmitted through coughing and sneezing and may last for several months. Symptoms of pertussis may appear 5 to 10 days following exposure but can take up to 21 days to develop. The first symptoms of pertussis are similar to those of a common cold: a runny nose, low-grade fever and a mild occasional cough for at least 2 weeks, which can become severe and spasmodic - with a distinctive “whooping” sound - and may trigger vomiting after a coughing episode. Even though the disease may be milder in older children, adolescents, and adults, those who are infected may unknowingly transmit the disease to other vulnerable persons, including unimmunized or incompletely immunized infants.

    Following increased disease activity from 2010 and early 2011, the DuPage County Health Department has continued to receive reports of pertussis (whooping cough) cases throughout the summer and fall, with the majority occurring in children and adolescents. Cooperation and vigilance toward early detection, reporting, and prevention of pertussis cases, particularly in school and work settings among students and employees, is very important.
    Most people recover completely from pertussis, but complications from the disease can be severe and possibly life-threatening in high risk groups, especially infants under one year, and children who have not been fully immunized against the disease.
    Persons who exhibit any of the symptoms of pertussis should contact their physician to arrange for appropriate testing and treatment with antibiotics. Patients with pertussis must be isolated from day care, school, work, and public gatherings until at least 5 days after the start of appropriate antibiotic therapy.
    Since infants, children, and adults are best protected from pertussis by immunizations, please review the immunization records of your family members as well as your own. Persons who have not received all recommended shots should contact their physician to arrange for the following immunizations: 1) infants and young children should receive a series of DTaP vaccines in their first 5 years of life, and 2) adolescents and adults should receive a single Tdap vaccine at 11 years of age or older.
    In addition, frequent hand washing and respiratory hygiene (e.g. covering your cough, coughing into tissues, disposing of tissues promptly) are important practices that help to limit the spread of this and other similar infections.

    Tos Ferina (Tos Convulsiva) Hoja Informativa para la comunidad

    If you have any further questions, please contact the DuPage County Health Department at 630-221-7553. More information on pertussis disease and vaccination is available at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pertussis/.


    Strep Throat


    Definition: The most common disease associated with Group A streptococcal bacteria. The highest occurrence of strep throat is in late winter and spring. Children between the ages of 3-12 years old are most often affected.

    Symptoms: Symptoms associated with the disease usually consist of: fever, soar throat, and possible nausea and vomiting. The tonsils may be covered with pus and the glands around the throat may be red and swollen.
    Diagnosis: Diagnosis of the disease is made by a physician and through a positive throat culture.
    Transmission: Strep throat is transmitted by direct or intimate contact with a person infected with the disease. The disease can be passed from person to person when large droplets are spread by coughing or sneezing.
    Treatment: Early treatment with prescribed antibiotics is important to prevent complications. The patient is considered non- infectious 24 to 48 hours after starting an antibiotic regimen. However, infection can reoccur if antibiotics are not continued for the entire prescribed length of time.
    • Frequent hand washing can reduce the transmission of disease.
    • One should always cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing to deflect germs from being spread into the air.
    • Do not share personal care items.
    • Dispose of tissues after sneezing or coughing.
    • Completion of prescribed antibiotic regimen.

    Suicide Prevention

    Naperville School District 203 believes in educating and supporting the whole child which includes  providing age-appropriate suicide awareness and prevention education.   In addition, building social workers are available to support students and families with mental health concerns.  Parents are encouraged to contact their building social worker if they believe their child needs additional support. 
    In accordance with Ann Marie’s Law (PA 99443), additional resources on suicide prevention are available below.  
    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)

    Sun Safety

    • The sun’s rays are the strongest during the hours of 10:00a.m. and 4:00p.m. Avoid exposure at these times.
    • Use a sunscreen of 15 SPF or greater to protect against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
    • Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
    • Wear sunscreen even on cloudy days.
    • Wear a hat with a four-inch brim and glasses with UV protective lenses to protect the face and eyes from exposure.
    • Stay in the shade when possible.

    Swimming Safety


    According to the National Safety Council, drowning is the second leading cause of death from unintentional injuries for youth 5 to 24 years of age and the leading cause of death from unintentional injuries for all ages. As a result, it is important to follow a few safety tips when swimming to ensure safety as well as fun.

    • Never swim alone. Always swim with a buddy.
    • Know your swimming limits and stay within them.
    • Swim in supervised areas only.
    • Watch out for the dangerous “toos” – too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun.
    • Do not chew gum or food while swimming; you could easily choke.
    • Obey “No Diving” signs, which indicate the areas that are unsafe for headfirst entries. If unsure of the depth of the water, you should enter the water feet first. In addition, learn the correct way to dive from a qualified instructor.
    • Never drink while swimming. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination. It affects your swimming and diving skills and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.

    West Nile Virus


    Definition: A virus spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, and can infect people, horses, many types of birds, and some other animals.

    Symptoms: Most people who become infected with West Nile Virus will have either no symptoms or only mild ones. Mild symptoms may include: fever, headaches, body aches, occasionally with a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands. However, on rare occasions, West Nile Virus infection can result in severe and sometimes fatal illnesses. Symptoms of severe infection may include: headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. It is advised that one contact their physician if they experience any of the above symptoms and believe to have recently been bitten by a mosquito.
    Spread: The principle route of human infection is through the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no evidence to suggest that West Nile Virus can be  spread from person to person or from animal to person.
    Prevention: You can further reduce your chances of becoming ill by protecting yourself from mosquito bites. To avoid mosquito bites:
    • Apply insect repellant containing DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) when you’re outdoors.
    • When possible, wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants treated with repellents containing DEET since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Do not apply repellents containing DEET directly to exposed skin. If you spray your clothing, there is no need to spray repellent containing DEET on the skin under your clothes.
    • Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times.
    • Limit the number of places available for mosquitos to lay their eggs by eliminating standing water sources from around your home.
    • Check to see if there is an organized mosquito control program in your area

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