Family Information Records

Families in Washington can access health and immunization records online using MyIR. A parent or guardian can register and add access for family members or dependents using a simple and intuitive web interface. Access to health records is only allowed once the parent or guardian visits their health provider to authenticate the information provided to the system. This ensures that the parent or guardian is permitted access to the family’s records as required for compliance to federal law.

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Influenza Information

We face flu season every year.  Please focus on helping your family stay healthy.  How do you do this?

  1. Wash your hands frequently.
  2. Cover your coughs and sneezes
  3. Stay home when you are sick, keep your children home from school when they are sick.
  4. Do NOT send your children to school until they have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.  (a fever is a temperature over 100 degrees)

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Head Lice Information

Head lice are small insects with six legs usually the size of a sesame seed (the seeds on burger buns).

Head lice feed on human blood several times during a 24 hour period. The primary symptom of head lice is scalp itch. This is caused by a reaction to the saliva a head louse deposits as it bites into the host.

They live on or very close to the scalp and don’t wander far down the hair shafts for very long. They are best seen in bright light and will move if light is directed to scalp. Common in the area behind the ears and the back of the neck.

They can only live on human beings; you can’t catch them from animals (or spread them to animals). Nits are not the same thing as lice. Lice are the insects which move around the head. Nits are egg cases laid by lice, stuck on to hair shafts with sticky glue; they are smaller than a pin head and are pearly white. They are usually within 1 inch from the scalp and must be pulled off with a NIT comb or fingernail. If object can be “blown” or “whisked” from hair it is most likely dry skin or dandruff.

If you have nits it doesn’t always mean that you have head lice. When you have got rid of all the live lice, the nits must be combed out of hair over a period of days and weeks before they hatch.

You only have head lice if you can find a living, moving louse (not a nit) on the scalp.

Anybody can get head lice. It is not a sign of uncleanliness or poor housekeeping. Lice do not discriminate.

Head lice infections are caught from close family and friends in the home and community, not from the school. Sleep overs with shared pillows is a common culprit for the spread of lice.

Spread of head lice requires direct head to head contact. They can’t swim, fly, hop or jump.

Prevention

The best way to stop infection is for families to learn how to check their own heads. This way they can find any lice before they have a chance to breed or nits hatch. Checks should be done weekly.

If lice/nits are found – treat immediately and thoroughly. Contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist for treatment recommendations. Treatment may include products containing pesticides that are applied to the hair and scalp along with consistent, frequent nit combing.

Instruct children not to share hats, combs, brushes, uniforms, barrettes, etc. Avoid hugging, reading and talking with heads touching etc. Long hair may be secured in pony tail or braided.

All bedding, towels, and clothing from the infected individual should be cleaned with soap and hot water and placed in a dryer for at least 20 minutes to help kill any remaining lice. Dry-clean all clothes that need to be dry-cleaned. Seal the infested individual’s stuffed toys in a plastic bag and leave them for 10 days to allow all lice to die of starvation. Dispose of or soak combs and hairbrushes in rubbing alcohol or the medicated shampoo used to kill lice. Throw out any hair accessories, such as hair elastics and ribbons. Thoroughly vacuum carpets and upholstered furniture.

Pets cannot become infested with head and body lice, so no precaution is required.

If lice are found – please notify the school and any family, friends and organizations (scout groups, church, athletic teams, etc.) that have been in close contact with your child.

Checking for Head Lice

1. Go to the well-lit area in or outside your home.

2. Use your regular comb or brush to completely detangle the hair.

3. Then, move (section/part) your child’s hair and using the magnifying glasses or similar, look at the areas called the “hot spots” – behind the ears, at the nape of the neck, above the forehead and at the crown (warm areas on the head where fertilized female head lice like to lay their eggs). Any areas red from itching! Look for tiny poppy-seed sized eggs, stuck to the hair shaft (meaning you’d need to use your fingernails to loosen them) and generally close to the scalp. They’re usually in quarter-sized clusters. They can be dark in color or light in color but in general, viable nits are plump and darkish (especially on dark hair.) I’ve had clients tell me they resemble chubby commas printed in a small font. If you can dislodge something on the hair shaft or scalp with a flick of the finger(nail) or by blowing on it, it’s NOT a head lice nit.

4. If you’ve found nothing, spray the hair with the water or a combination of water and diluted conditioner. Don’t get it to the dripping stage; just make it wet enough. Detangle again with a standard comb or brush to remove all knots.

5. With the head lice comb, start combing small sections of hair (may need clips – pins to hold hair up and out of the way) – from the scalp to the ends of the hair. The individual being combed should “feel it”. After three or four swipes through the hair section with the lice comb, wipe the comb (front and back) on a piece of white paper towel or a white tissue. Bugs and nits will be evident – gray brownish in color. Be methodical. Continue doing this, multi-directionally (nits can be anywhere on the hair shaft so you need to comb from underneath and from the sides) until you’ve lice combed the entire head. With long/thick hair, you might want to use the clips separate areas you’ve already lice combed from areas you’ve not.

6. If you perform a thorough lice combing on the entire head and find nothing, it’s highly unlikely that a case of head lice is present.

7. If you pull bugs (either adult lice or maturing nymphs), they will be crawling a bit on the piece of paper towel/tissue. (If they have wings, they’re not head lice). After you pull a couple of bugs or SEVERAL (more than two ) nits, there’s no need to continue with the head check. The individual needs to be treated.

8. If you find only a nit or two in combing the entire head and no bugs, it’s highly unlikely that the person has a then active case of head lice and we’d recommend just a nightly head lice combing for two weeks (using the diluted conditioner referred to above only.)

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Disease

The Washington State Legislature requires school districts to make information available to all parents or guardians of students entering grades 6 through 12 about human papillomavirus (HPV) and how to prevent it.

What is HPV?

HPV is a common virus that spreads primarily through sexual contact. Up to 75 percent of HPV infections occur among people 15 thru 24 years old. HPV causes most known cervical cancers, anal cancers, and genital warts. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types that cause cancer. Some types of HPV can cause penile, anal, or head and neck cancers.

What are the symptoms of HPV?

Most of the time infected individuals have no symptoms and can spread the virus without knowing it. Some people know they have HPV because they have a symptom like genital warts. Women may find out they have HPV through cervical cancer screening (Pap tests) and HPV testing. Health care providers do not usually test for HPV unless they find abnormal cervical cell changes in a Pap test.

How can HPV infection be prevented?

The best way to prevent HPV infection is to abstain from all sexual activity. Even people with only one lifetime partner can get HPV if their partner had previous sexual partners. Using condoms during sex offers good protection against sexual infections like HPV. The HPV vaccines offer by far the best protection if given before sexual activity starts – vaccines do not get rid of existing HPV infections. The HPV vaccine can prevent infections from some of the most common and serious types of HPV that cause warts, cervical, and anal cancers.

What HPV vaccines are available?

Two HPV vaccines are available:

HPV4 – licensed for males and females. It protects against four types of HPV. These include two types of HPV that cause 75 percent of cervical cancers in women and most anal cancers in men and two types that cause 90 percent of genital warts in both women and men.

HPV2 – licensed only for females. It protects against the two types of HPV that cause 75 percent of cervical cancers.

Who should get the vaccine and when should they get it?

Females – the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) recommends routine vaccination for all girls age 11 thru 12 years old against HPV. For unvaccinated females, the recommendation goes up through age 26. Health care providers may also give the vaccine to girls as young as 9 years.

Males – the ACIP recently approved a recommendation for routine vaccination of boys age 11 thru 12 years. For unvaccinated males, the recommendation goes up through age 21. Health care providers may vaccinate boys as young as 9 years and men aged 22 thru 26 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon make this recommendation available. Until then, health care providers may vaccinate males using the permissive recommendation that is in place.

To be up-to-date on this immunization, males and females need three doses of the vaccine. Talk to your health care provider about the vaccine schedule. HPV vaccine is not required for school in Washington.

Are Pap tests still recommended for females who get the HPV vaccine?

Yes. The HPV vaccine does not protect against all HPV that can cause cancer and warts, so females still need Pap tests.

Where can I find the HPV vaccine?

Ask your doctor, nurse, or local health clinic to find out more about HPV vaccine and where you can get it. Patients younger than 19 years of age can get HPV vaccine for free in Washington State. Some health care providers’ offices charge an administration fee or an office visit fee. You can ask to waive the administration fee if you can’t pay. For people age 19 and older, the vaccine is available from many clinics and pharmacies. Most health insurance plans cover the vaccine for people recommended to get it. Call your health plan to check your coverage. For adults without health insurance, the companies that make these vaccines have programs to help pay for them. Find out if your health care provider participates in these programs.

Meningococcal Disease Information

As of July 2005 schools in Washington are required to provide information on meningococcal disease to parents or guardians of all students entering grades 6-12.

What is Meningococcal Disease?

Meningococcal disease is a serious infection of the brain (meningitis) and blood caused by bacteria. Fortunately, this life-threatening infection is rare — only about 75 people are infected each year in Washington. Adolescents and young adults are most likely to get meningococcal disease, especially those living in group settings such as college dormitories.

How can I prevent it?

The Department of Health wants you to be aware of meningococcal disease and how your child may prevent it. Talk to your children about good hygiene (regular hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, etc.) and warn them not to share items that may spread meningococcal disease and other bacteria and viruses: eating utensils, glasses, cups, water bottles, drinks, lip gloss or toothbrushes.

Is there a vaccine?

A meningococcal vaccine is available that can prevent up to 65 percent of meningococcal disease among adolescents and young adults. Unfortunately, right now, the supply of this vaccine is limited and college freshmen who will be living in dorms have the highest priority for the limited vaccine supply. Talk with your child’s doctor about the need for meningococcal vaccine for your child. Even if the meningococcal vaccine is recommended, it is not required for school or college attendance.

Whooping Cough Information

The Washington state Department of Health has been reporting a dramatic increase in the number of cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in King County. Whooping cough is a contagious respiratory infection that affects people of all ages, but it is most serious for infants. Symptoms appear 6 to 21 days (average 7-10 days) after exposure to an infected person. Pertussis usually begins with a cold symptoms or a dry cough followed by episodes of severe coughing. Gagging or vomiting may occur after severe coughing spells. Fever may be absent or mild.

What should I do?

Anyone who is exposed to the bacteria can get pertussis. Immunized children, adolescents and adults may get a milder case of the illness. Infants less than one year have the highest risk of severe disease. Unimmunized or partly immunized children are also at a higher risk of severe disease. Pregnant women with pertussis near the time of delivery my spread it to their newborns. Vaccine is considered safe in the last trimester of pregnancy so discussing this with your health care provider is recommended.

Antibiotics active against pertussis given early in the course of the disease can help decrease transmission to others.

It is recommended to consult your health care provider if you or someone in your family: has a persistent cough that lasts more than two weeks; has a cough that occurs in “spells” followed by gagging, vomiting or difficulty breathing; or is unsure if he or she is fully immunized.

We recommend students stay home if they are not feeling well. If diagnosed with whooping cough, students can return to school either 21 days after the onset of the typical cough or until after five days of antibiotics treatment for the disease.

For more specific pertussis information, contact your school nurse, your health care provider or visit KingCounty.gov/healthservices.