Health Services

Mission

School Nurses are committed to the following goals:

  • Identifying students with health needs and assisting with accessing health care
  • Educating students, school staff, and the community at large in healthy lifestyle practices
  • Reducing health-related student absences
 
Stethoscope
 
 

School Nursing Staff

Twila Ingwersen RN, BSN, NCSN

Serving:

  • Avery Middle School
  • Banner Elk School
  • Crossnore Elem School

Phone: 828-387-6315
Email: twilaingwersen@averyschools.net

Beth Shook, RN, BSN, NCSN

Serving:

  • Avery County High School
  • Newland Elem School
  • Blue Ridge Academy

Phone: 828-387-5756
Email: bethshook@averyschools.net

Dawn Hicks, RN, BSN

Serving:

  • Freedom Trail Elem
  • Cranberry Middle School
  • Riverside Elem School

Phone: 828-260-4232
Email: dawnhicks@averyschools.net


Immunizations

The 30 Calendar Day Rule

Students entering Avery County Schools for the first time must be up to date with the required immunizations for North Carolina. This includes new admission to Pre-K or Kindergarten, as well as transfer students from another state or in-state transfer. A student has 30 calendar days from the date of entry to have a completed immunization record on file or the proper exemptions. At the 30th calendar day, if the immunization record is not fulfilled the student must be excluded from school until the matter is resolved.
(NC Immunization Law General Statues of NC Chapter 130A, Article 6)

Please visit www.immunizenc.org for a list of immunizations required for public school entry.
 

Immunizations for children and adolescents


What immunizations should my child have and when?

Effective January 1, 2008, the administrative rule, 10A NCAC 41A.0401, has been changed, adding requirements for one booster dose of TDAP (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis) vaccine to be given to the following age groups:

• All individuals attending public school who are entering the 6th grade on or after August 1, 2008, if five years or more have passed since the last dose of tetanus/diphtheria toxoid.
• All individuals not attending public schools (i.e., private, home-school, non-traditional schools) who are 12 years of age on or after August 1, 2008, if five years or more have passed since the last dose of tetanus/diphtheria toxoid.
• Individuals enrolling in college or university for the first time on or after July 1, 2008, if a tetanus/diphtheria toxoid or tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis vaccine has not been administered within the past 10 years.

This administrative rule change also impacts mumps vaccination. Individuals are now required to receive a second dose of mumps vaccination before enrolling in school, college or university for the first time.

Meningococcal Meningitis Disease

Meningococcal meningitis disease is a serious, potentially fatal illness caused by bacteria. Symptoms may resemble the flu but progress rapidly and can often cause death within two days. For those that survive, long term effects can include brain damage, seizures, hearing loss or limb amputations.

Meningitis is contagious and is spread through air droplets and direct contact with infected persons. It can be spread through coughing, sneezing, kissing or sharing items like drinking glasses, lip balm, eating utensils, or cigarettes.

Adolescents and young adults are at increased risk of contracting this disease. The reason for the increased risk may be due to lifestyle factors common among these age groups, such as living in crowded situations (dormitories), going to bars, smoking, and irregular sleep habits.

However, the majority of cases among adolescents are preventable by vaccination. The vaccine is a covered benefit, paid for by most major insurance companies and Medicaid. Additionally, the vaccine is available to VFC-eligible children that meet the ACIP recommended coverage groups listed below. Children through 18 years of age who meet at least one of the following criteria are considered VFC-eligible:

  • Medicaid eligible: A child who is eligible for the Medicaid program. (For the purposes of the VFC program the terms Medicaid-eligible and Medicaid-enrolled are equivalent and refer to children who have health insurance covered by a state Medicaid program)
  • Uninsured: A child who has no health insurance coverage
  • Indian (American Indian or Alaska Native): As defined by the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1603)
  • Underinsured: Children who have commercial (private) health insurance but the coverage does not include vaccines, children whose insurance covers only selected vaccines (VFC-eligible for non-covered vaccines only), or children whose insurance

Meningococcal immunization is recommended for the following age groups:

  • Adolescents aged 11-12 year old,
  • Adolescents at high school entry (15 years old), or
  • College freshman, through 18 years of age, who live in dormitories, or
  • Children 11 > years of age who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease.

In addition to being vaccinated, young adults can reduce their risk for contracting the disease by not sharing eating utensils, beverages, cigarettes, etc.

For medical advice about meningococcal immunization, consult your physician, college health service or local public health department.

Get S.M.A.R.T about Meningitis - School Meningitis Awareness Resource Tools

Meningococcal Television Public Service Announcement (PSA)


Student Health Forms

Download and print form front and back on blue paper as per state recommendation. NC Health Assesment must be completed by a health care provider on first time admission into a NC public or charter school.

Students who need medication prescription or Over the Counter must have the medication request on file at school.  This form must be completed by a health care provider and signed by a parent of guardian.


Nurse's Notes for Good Health

HealthBeat: Energy Drinks Versus Energy

A study indicates energy drinks, which can have the caffeine of up to three cups of coffee, can have a boomerang effect on a person’s ability to stay awake. At the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Robin Toblin looked at survey data on service members in Afghan war zones. She says those who had at least three energy drinks a day reported falling asleep more often on guard duty and in briefings than did troops who drank fewer.

Toblin advises troops and civilians alike: “Use these in moderation, both in the number of drinks someone is having, as well as the size of the container, which can really range from about 8 ounces all the way to 24 ounces.”

The study was in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn more at healthfinder.gov.


Protect Yourself From the Flu

 

Keep Your Germs from Spreading:

  • Wash your hands often and well with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze (with a tissue if possible).
  • Stay home if you are sick.

For more information see the CDC Q&A website

Illness 101

Things to keep in mind:

Flu Vaccines

For those who did not receive a flu vaccine in the fall. Vaccines are still available and it is not too late

Flu Vaccines are available at the Avery Co Health Department

Fifth Disease

Fifth is a viral illness A classic sign of Fifth is a rash on the cheeks this may last for greater than a week. Fifth is most contagious before the rash appears either during the incubation period or when experiencing only mild respiratory symptoms. The Student is not contagious once the rash is present. A virus is not treated with an antibiotic.

Strep Throat, Scarlet Fever, Scarlatina

Strep throat is caused by an infection with group A streptococcus bacteria. This infection presents with sore throat, fever 101* or greater, head ache and/or stomach ache. If untreated a scarlet-colored rash that looks like a bad sunburn and feels rough may appear. This is called Scarlet fever or Scarlatina. All Streptococcus infections should be treated by a healthcare provider.

Emergency Warning Signs

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

Emergency warning signs in children that need urgent medical attention include:

  •     Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  •     Bluish or gray skin color
  •     Not drinking enough fluids
  •     Severe or persistent vomiting
  •     Not waking up or no interaction
  •     Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  •     Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough


Emergency warning signs in adults that need urgent medical attention include:

  •     Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  •     Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  •     Sudden dizziness
  •     Confusion
  •     Severe or persistent vomiting
  •     Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

 

Prescriptions and Teen Drug Abuse.. Know the facts
 

Myth #1: Teen Prescription Drug Abuse Is Uncommon
Fact: The abuse of prescription medications among youth ages 12 to 17 is widespread.

  • Every day, 2,500 young people use a prescription pain reliever to get high for the first time.
  • More teens abuse prescription drugs than illegal drugs except marijuana.
  • 3.2 million high school students report that they have abused a prescription medication at least once in their lives.
  • One in five high school students has taken a prescription medication that was not prescribed for them by a doctor.

Myth #2: Only Adults Abuse Prescription Medications
Fact: You may be surprised to learn that teenagers - even as young as 12 years old - abuse prescription drugs every day.

Many young people access prescription drugs easily and perceive prescription medications to be less dangerous than other drugs.

  • Prescription drugs are the drug of choice among 12-to-13 year-olds.
  • One third of all new prescription drug abusers in 2006 were 12-to-17 year-olds.
  • 60 percent of teens (12-17) who have abused prescription painkillers first tried them before age 15.

Myth #3: Taking Prescription Medications Is a Safe Way to Get High
Fact: When abused, prescription drugs can be equally as dangerous as illegal drugs.

  • 41 percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are safer to use than illegal drugs.
  • Unintentional poisoning deaths involving narcotics and hallucinogens increased 55 percent from 1999 to 2004. This is attributed mainly to prescription painkillers.
  • 32 percent of teens say they abuse prescription painkillers because they believe there are fewer side effects than street drugs.

Myth #4: It's Difficult to Get Prescription Medications
Fact: Accessing prescription medications can be as easy as going into a parent's or family member's medicine cabinet, drawer or kitchen cupboard. Some teens get them from friends. For many young people, accessing prescription drugs can be free or inexpensive.

  • 65 percent of teens who abuse prescription pain relievers say they get them from friends and relatives.
  • More than three in five teens say prescription pain relievers are easy to get from a parent's medicine cabinet.

Source: http://www.smartmovessmartchoices.org/overview

Tobacco Facts
 

  • Nine out of 10 regular smokers began using tobacco products before age 18.
  • The average teen smoker begins at age 13.
  • About 2/3 of teen smokers say they want to quit smoking.
  • Every day, 3,000 kids become addicted to tobacco products.
  • Almost 1,000 of them will die prematurely from tobacco- related disease.
  • Eighty-five percent of underage smokers purchase the three most heavily advertised Brands: Marlboro, Newport, or Camel.
  • After the Joe Camel cartoon campaign was introduced, Camel's market share among underage smokers jumped from 0.5% to 32.8%.
  • Fifty percent of kids 12 to 17 who smoke own at least one promotional item with a tobacco logo.
  • Nine out of 10 regular smokers began using tobacco products before age 18.
  • The average teen smoker begins at age 13.
  • About 2/3 of teen smokers say they want to quit smoking.
  • Every day, 3,000 kids become addicted to tobacco products.
  • Almost 1,000 of them will die prematurely from tobacco- related disease.
  • Eighty-five percent of underage smokers purchase the three most heavily advertised Brands: Marlboro, Newport, or Camel.
  • After the Joe Camel cartoon campaign was introduced, Camel's market share among underage smokers jumped from 0.5% to 32.8%.
  • Fifty percent of kids 12 to 17 who smoke own at least one promotional item with a tobacco logo.
  • Nine out of 10 regular smokers began using tobacco products before age 18.
  • The average teen smoker begins at age 13.
  • About 2/3 of teen smokers say they want to quit smoking.
  • Every day, 3,000 kids become addicted to tobacco products.
  • Almost 1,000 of them will die prematurely from tobacco- related disease.
  • Eighty-five percent of underage smokers purchase the three most heavily advertised Brands: Marlboro, Newport, or Camel.
  • After the Joe Camel cartoon campaign was introduced, Camel's market share among underage smokers jumped from 0.5% to 32.8%.
  • Fifty percent of kids 12 to 17 who smoke own at least one promotional item with a tobacco logo.

Source: http://www.gatordental.com/drugfree/nicotine.htm
 
Avery County Schools offers a teen tobacco information/cessation program.


Flu Season


Student Flu Vaccine

  • Anyone can get sick from the flu.
  • The severity of flu varies annually
  • Flu illnesses occur in people of all ages, resulting in lost days from work and school and doctor visits
  • An average of 226,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 to 49,000 flu-related deaths occurring each year
  • The first and most important step in protecting against the flu is to get a flu vaccination each season. CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu vaccination each year

Flu Shots are available at the Avery County Health Dept, local physician offices, and local pharmacies.


What are the symptoms of the flu?

Flu symptoms include:

  • A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

More info: http://www.flu.gov/symptoms-treatment/symptoms/index.html

Do I have the flu or a cold?

In general, the flu is worse than the common cold. Symptoms such as fever, body aches, tiredness, and cough are more common and intense with the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.


More info: http://www.flu.gov/symptoms-treatment/symptoms/index.html
   

When should I seek emergency medical attention?

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

More info: http://www.flu.gov/symptoms-treatment/symptoms/index.html


Staff Training

Bloodborne Pathogens