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Saturday, August 23, 2014
Health and Safety

MPS Superintendent Barbara W. Thompson’s statement concerning the shooting in Connecticut:

“The thoughts and prayers of all of the MPS family are with the parents and family members of the horrible tragedy in Newton, Connecticut. Montgomery Public Schools work closely with the Montgomery Police Department, Montgomery Sheriff’s Office, and our own security team to help provide a safe learning environment for our students.”

Montgomery joins communities nationwide over the tragic event in Newtown, Connecticut. As with all times of uncertainty, it is important to keep lines of communication open. Parents and others who are looking for tips on how to discuss this horrible incident with children may refere to the list of resources and publications below designed to support communities and families in crisis situations.

SAMHSA's Tips for Talking to Children and Youth After Traumatic Events: A Guide for Parents and Educators 

SAMHSA's Coping with Violence and Traumatic Events Web site  

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers  

Coping With Crisis: Tips for Parents and Educators  

Coping with Crisis—Helping Children With Special Needs

Dealing with a Death in School

A Practical Guide for Crisis Response in Our Schools

American Academy of Pediatrics: Resources to Help Parents, Children and Others Cope in the Aftermath of School Shootings

School crisis guide: Helping and healing in a time of crisis

 

West Nile Virus Alert

Montgomery Public Schools urge parents who have concerns about the mosquito borne illness West Nile Virus to consult with their health care provider to consider using a long lasting repellent product on their children. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. At this point, physical education classes are being held outdoors. Principals and teachers are aware of the threat of mosquitoes and are actively looking for activity around their schools. They have also been asked to ensure there is no standing water in containers on school property to minimize opportunities for mosquitoes to breed. Please contact the Montgomery County Health Department or your health care provider if you have questions about West Nile Virus.

 

Heat Related Illness

Alabama's summer climate with its extreme temperatures and high humidity can lead to heat-related illnesses and deaths if not treated.  Heat-related illnesses occur when the body's temperature control system is overloaded.  You can learn the warnings and signal help when needed.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke, sometimes called sunstroke, is the most serious heat-related illness.  It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature.  The body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down.  Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.  Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.  Warning signs of heat stroke vary, but include the following:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F)
  • Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency, so have another person call 911 for medical assistance and take immediate steps to begin cooling the victim in any of the following ways:

  • Get the person to a shady area, cool rapidly in a tub of cool water, place in a cool shower, spray with cool water from a garden hose, splash with cool water, or, if the humidity is low, place in a cool wet sheet and fan vigorously.
  • Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the person's body temperature drops to 101 to 102 degrees F.
  • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call a hospital emergency room for further instructions.

A person with heat stroke is likely to be unconscious or unresponsive, so he or she cannot safely consume any liquids.  Under no circumstances should you give any alcohol to a person with heat stroke or any heat illness.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.  Those most prone to heat exhaustion are the elderly, persons with high blood pressure, and those working or exercising in a hot environment.

Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fainting.  The skin may be cool and moist.  The pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow.  Untreated heat exhaustion may progress to heat stroke so seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms - usually in the abdomen, arms or legs - that may occur in association with strenuous activity.  People who sweat a lot during strenuous activity are prone to heat cramps. To relieve them, apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gently massage them.  Give sips of water every 15 minutes for one hour.

Follow these preventive measures to avoid heat illnesses:

Drink more fluids, and avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.

  • When temperatures are extreme, stay indoors, ideally in an air-conditioned place.
  • Take a cool shower or bath, and reduce or eliminate strenuous activities during the hottest time of the day.
  • Protect yourself from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.
  • Never leave pets or people in a parked vehicle.

 

 

H1N1 and Seasonal Flu 

Montgomery Public Schools is working with the county Health Department and the state Department of Education to monitor flu cases in our area and to ensure schools are taking every possible precaution to help students stay healthy.

You and your children could be exposed to both seasonal influenza (flu) and H1N1 influenza (known as swine flu). In a school environment, children are likely to come in contact with others who have been exposed to a virus that could result in the cold or the flu. There are four very important steps you and your children can take to minimize your risks of becoming ill with the flu.

1. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after you cough or sneeze. Washing your hands is considered the best way to kill the virus on your hands. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Montgomery Public School teachers are working with your children to help them keep their hands clean.

2. When coughing or sneezing, please cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Tissue should be sent to school with your child if needed.

3. Stay home from work, and keep your children home from school when you or they are sick. Children with flu symptoms (especially accompanied by a fever of 100 degrees or higher) need to remain home until they are free from fever for 24 hours without the use of medication.

4. Schedule an appointment or attend a clinic where you and your children can receive your flu shots. When the H1N1 vaccine is available, students will have the opportunity to receive it at school at no cost. Permission slips will be sent home a few days before the clinics begin.   

It is important to keep sick children isolated from others. You should have a plan for how your child will be cared for at home if they are ill with flu for a week or more.  Students who stay home due to flu-like symptoms do not require a doctor's note upon returning to school. The student should return to school with a note from their parent/guardian indicating they were home ill in order for the absences to be excused. However, students may not return to school until they have been free of fever for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Influenza can be a serious illness and cases of more severe illness in the future may occur. If you or your child have a chronic medical condition, such as lung disease (including asthma), heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, a compromised immune system or cancer, or are pregnant, please call your medical provider if you've been exposed to the flu so that they can advise you about any additional preventive steps to take. 

MPS is taking extra precautions when cleaning and sanitizing restrooms, drinking fountains, locker rooms, classrooms and other common areas. Teachers are also reminding students to wash their hands often and use the hand sanitizers that are available in every school. With your help, we may be able to reduce the impact of the flu in our area.

For more information about seasonal flu and H1N1, you can visit one of the websites below, or call the flu hotline at 1-877-377-7285 Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Centers for Disease Control  http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

Alabama Department of Health  http://www.adph.org/h1n1flu/