The Center's Infirmary is a welcoming place for any child who feels ill or needs medical attention during school hours or during before- or after-school care. Our nurse is on duty during all hours when students are on campus and is our in-house educator in matters of health and nutrition.
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Fall into Good Health | How to Communicate with the Doctor
Fall into Good Health
Fall is here, and as the winter months are approaching we need to take some precautions to stay as healthy as possible. As you all know, cold and flu viruses are at their peak during the Fall and Winter months. Keeping that in mind, there are some ways that you can lessen the likelihood of becoming ill.
Many of us have a hard time differentiating between cold and flu viruses. The following are a list of signs and symptoms to look for in both. Colds are minor infections of the nose and throat caused by several different viruses. Colds are highly contagious. They are most often spread when droplets of fluid that contain a cold virus are transferred by touch. These droplets may also be inhaled. A cold may last for about one week, but some colds last longer, especially in children, the elderly and those in poor health.
- runny nose
- weakened senses of taste and smell
- scratchy throat
The Flu is an infection of the respiratory system caused by the influenza virus. There are three types of influenza virus: A, B, and C. Types A and B are the most severe. The viruses change constantly and the different strains circulate around the world every year. The body’s natural defenses cannot keep up with these changes; therefore a person should get a flu shot every year. Type C causes either a very mild illness, or has no symptoms at all. It does not cause epidemics and does not have the severe public health impact that influenza types A and B do. The flu may last for approximately one to two weeks in most people.
- temperature of 101°F or above
- muscle ache
- sore throat
- feeling lousy all over
In preventing the spread of the cold and flu virus, the following are some helpful tips:
- WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!!!! Frequent hand washing is the first and most important line of defense. Be sure you wash your hands for at least 20 to 30 seconds (Sing the Happy birthday song twice)
- Use anti-bacterial sanitizers if you do not have access to soap and water
- Keep your hands away from your nose, mouth and eyes to avoid infecting yourself with cold/flu particles that you may have picked up
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze to avoid spreading droplets to others
- Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands. If a tissue is unavailable use the arm/elbow technique
- Eat a well-balanced diet including a daily intake of fruits and vegetables and drink six to eight glasses of water daily to help keep your immune system healthy
- Take a multi-vitamin daily
- Getting a yearly flu shot can help prevent contracting the influenza virus. Groups that should especially receive the vaccine are all children 6months to 5 years of age, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions( asthma, lung disease, heart disease etc…) or weakened immune systems
- Antiviral medications may be helpful in combating the influenza virus in its early stages. Notify your physician at the first sign of symptoms
- If you have a severe cold or flu, please stay at home to avoid infecting others as well as to get plenty of rest to assist in a healthy recovery
Staying healthy is important to us all. Let’s all work together to keep CEE and our community in tip-top shape. Here’s to good health and a happy school year!!!!!
How to Communicate With the Doctor
The key to building a better relationship with your child's doctor is open communication and reasonable expectations.
What can you expect from your doctor? He or she should:
- help you monitor your child's health
- explain your child's growth and development and what you can expect
- diagnose and treat your child's minor or moderately serious illnesses
- explain your child's illnesses and treatment
- provide referrals and work with specialists in the case of illnesses requiring special expertise
Your pediatrician, family doctor, or nurse practitioner can also help you with other children's health issues, including exercise, nutrition, and weight issues; behavioral and emotional issues; how to cope with family issues, such as death, separation, and divorce; and how to understand and seek treatment for learning disabilities.
Good communication is a two-way street. You can aid communication by letting the doctor know that you trust him or her to care for your child. It's good to ask questions, but let the doctor know that you want decisions, diagnoses, and prescriptions to be based on the best decision for the health of your child, not what's easier for you or makes you feel better.
You should also be as prepared as possible with details during your doctor visits. When asked how your child is doing, be ready to share any concerns or ask any questions. It's best to be specific. Be sure to tell the doctor details about symptoms — for instance, if your child vomited three times last night, had a temperature of 102° Fahrenheit (39° Celsius), or is having diarrhea. This helps the doctor assess your child's condition more readily and accurately than if you just say that "my child is sick."
Consider jotting down your questions and concerns before the appointment so that you'll remember everything you want to bring up. And if you're worried about symptoms your child is having, mention them to the doctor even if he or she doesn't ask. Tell the doctor what you've tried to make the symptoms better and what worked and what didn't. The more information you provide, the better the doctor will be able to assess your child's health.
Tips for Building a Better Relationship
Make the most of your relationship with the doctor (and the doctor's office) by following these tips:
Be informed, but don't overwhelm. The Internet is a tremendous tool that can help you learn more about your child's health and development, but it's unrealistic to expect your child's doctor to evaluate every health resource or breakthrough you find on the Web or see on TV. If you have a particular article that you'd like the doctor to review or comment on, mail, email, fax, or drop off the article well in advance of the office visit, giving the doctor plenty of time to review and do any necessary research. Keep these requests to a minimum, though. If you're looking for information on a particular children's health topic, talk to the office staff or a nurse about whether they provide informational brochures. Ask the doctor to recommend some reliable resources where you can get health information.
Be focused during the visit. Avoid distractions so you can focus your full attention on answering the doctor's questions. Turn off your cell phone and leave other kids with a spouse, babysitter, or relative, if possible. Also try to stick to the reason for the visit — for example, don't use a sick visit to discuss behavior problems that may require an in-depth evaluation. Instead, schedule a separate visit and let the office staff know the nature of your child's problem so that a longer appointment time can be allotted.
Follow the rules. Respect the doctor's time by arriving for appointments on time or a few minutes early. If you're unavoidably late, let the office know, and give at least 24 hours' notice to cancel or reschedule. Many office schedules are packed weeks in advance, so schedule well-child or non-sick visits early. You should also familiarize yourself with the office's payment requirements and your insurance company's co-pays and referral policy to make appointments go more smoothly.
Follow up. Before you leave the doctor's office, make sure you understand what follow-up appointments, lab tests, or blood work your child needs. Take notes about any instructions so you don't forget them, and if you don't understand how to administer medication, ask the nurse or doctor before leaving the office. Communicate with the office, too, if the medication prescribed isn't working or your child develops worsening or additional symptoms.
Save time by making time. In most cases, it's best if you or your partner attend your child's doctor visits. This is especially true for complicated issues like behavior problems. Relying on a substitute like a nanny or grandparent may mean that information or instructions may be misunderstood or miscommunicated by the time they get to you or that in-depth questions the doctor asks can't be answered.
Use good judgment. Using the phone for questions about symptoms can save you and the doctor time and money, but don't abuse the privilege. Save non-urgent questions about your child's health and development for well-child visits. Many knowledgeable nurses or nurse practitioners answer phone questions for pediatric practices; use these medical professionals as a resource for non-urgent questions instead of demanding to speak with the doctor each time you call. Nighttime calls should be reserved for more urgent issues — remember, the doctor is at home when you're calling.
The stress of having a sick or hurt child can strain communication between doctors and parents, and the many issues covered in well-child visits may leave little room for your questions. But don't hesitate to ask your doctor questions, no matter how insignificant you may think they are. Many times, problems with your child can be resolved easily with the help of the doctor.
And don't be afraid to give the doctor feedback about your office visit experience, such as whether you felt rushed during the appointment or needed more information about a prescription or procedure. A good doctor will want to work with you to provide the best care possible for your child.