Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, continues to be a threat in California. Whooping cough is highly contagious and can spread easily at school.
Although children are protected by way of their baby shots, their protection against pertussis can wear off by the time they are in middle school. A booster shot, also known as Tdap, has been available since 2005 to protect preteens, teens, and adults against pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria.
Under California law, all incoming 7th graders need to be immunized with Tdap for the new school year. Students may be turned away from school if they don’t meet the immunization requirement.
It is important that adolescents get Tdap while they are in the 6th grade to protect against pertussis and meet the school requirement this fall. At the same time, adolescents can catch up, as needed, with other important care, including meningococcal, chickenpox and human papillomavirus (HPV) immunizations.
Additional information and resources for parents, schools and providers about the Tdap law is available at www.ShotsForSchool.org. For information about scheduling an appointment for your adolescent, contact one of our clinics.
The Healthy Students, Promising Futures (HSPF) Learning Collaborative was launched July 2016 by the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The group was co-convened by the Healthy Schools Campaign and Trust for America’s Health to support increased access to school health services through Medicaid reimbursement.
California is one of 15 state teams that include representatives from the California Department of Education (CDE), California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), Teachers for Healthy California, California School Nurses Organization, California School Based Health Alliance and other state partner advocates. Andrea Coleman by request of the State Superintendent’s Office and Margie Bobe through affiliation with the National Alliance for Medicaid in Education were asked to serve as representatives of California Local Education Agencies on the California state team.
The 15 state team learning collaborative convenes twice yearly in Washington, D.C. to both learn from each other and receive technical assistance from the support network of 16 national partner organizations.
The 2017-18 flu season has arrived early and has been more severe than in years past. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 26 adult deaths caused by influenza (flu) in Los Angeles County. There have been more positive cases of flu in the month of December, weeks 48-52 on the chart, than the seven previous years (see chart below). This year's strain of flu can cause more illness in adults over the age of 65 years old. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following to help protect yourself and others:
- Everyone 6 months and older should get a yearly flu vaccine, as advised by their medical care provider. If you do not have a regular medical care provider, there are LAUSD and community clinics where you or your child can still get the flu vaccine.
- While the strain of flu virus in the vaccine may not match the circulating virus in the community exactly, the vaccine can reduce flu symptoms, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu.
- If you or a family member get the flu (signs and symptoms are fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, headache, body aches, and fatigue), antiviral medications can shorten the length and decrease the severity of illness. So it is a good idea to see your medical care provider early if you have the signs and symptoms of the flu.
Remember the preventive practices that can decrease the spread of the virus.
December 3-9 was National Influenza Vaccination Week. Although it is recommended to receive the influenza (flu) vaccine by the end of October, December is still an important month to raise awareness. In the United States, the flu epidemic usually peaks between December and March and can last as late as May. Most individuals with influenza will recover without issues; however, influenza can cause serious illness and death, particularly in older adults, very young children, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and people around you from getting sick. That is why everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community. The vaccine can also make your illness milder if you do get sick, thus preventing flu related hospitalizations and reducing the number of doctor visits, and missed work and school days.
Also, it is important to note that contaminated hands are the predominant mode of transmission of infectious agents. Thus, promoting and using appropriate hygiene and cough etiquette are essential to preventing the spread of disease. Some methods include, 1) covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, )2 coughing or sneezing into your inner elbow 3) throwing the tissue away in the trash after using it, 4) avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and 5) performing hand hygiene whenever hands have been in contact with respiratory secretions, before and after eating, after using the restroom and whenever else appropriate. Hand hygiene includes washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
If you do get sick with a mild flu-like illness, the Center for Disease Control recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever reducing medicine.
LAUSD Student Health and Human Services personnel will participate with the L.A. Trust for Children's Health in hosting their annual Youth to Youth (Y2Y) Conference on Thursday, November 16, 2017, at The
California Endowment. Students and adults from the 15 Wellness Centers take part in workshops that focus on health and wellness topics such as mental health, oral health, and fitness and nutrition. Y2Y is a safe space for students to come together to network, build leadership skills, and conceptualize ways to promote the Wellness Centers on their campus and in their communities. The L.A. Trust also invites young leaders to speak about their experiences and inspire hope to the students at Y2Y. The conference will have Gage Middle School alumnus, Diego Sepulveda, an advocate for LGBTQ justice, immigrant rights and worker justice, as this year’s keynote speaker. Many of our SHHS staff help students become engaged and attend the Y2Y conference where they learn to advocate for a healthy school campus. Last year, when asked about what they liked about Y2Y, a student expressed that "it forms friendships and establishes unity," and that he "enjoyed meeting all the other youth and actually seeing how their schools enhance the lifestyles of their fellow students.”
Student Medical Services employs 13 Medical Assistants (MAs) to work in our 14 school-based health clinics around the District. LAUSD medical assistants are health professionals who support the work of school physicians and nurse practitioners. Their responsibilities include both clinical and administrative duties: Preparing exam and treatment rooms with necessary supplies/equipment; obtaining patient health history and vital signs; helping families obtain temporary Medi-Cal coverage; performing pre-exam procedures; assisting with diagnostic tests and a variety of routine lab tests; administering immunizations under the physician or nurse practitioner’s supervision; and much more.
Every year Medical Assistants Recognition Week is celebrated nationally during the third full week in October and Medical Assistants Recognition Day is observed on Wednesday of that week. Student Medical Services celebrated the outstanding work of our MAs at our October 18th staff meeting which corresponded with National Medical Assistants Recognition Day. Lunch was donated by Dr. Kimberly Uyeda, Director of Student Medical Services with desserts and beverages donated by Sr. Physician, Dr. Rosina Franco. Each MA was given a messenger bag useful for organizing and transporting materials between clinics. Thanks to the support provided by MAs in our clinics, LAUSD can boast of providing more CHDP (Child Health and Disability Prevention) program physical exams than any other entity in California. Well done!
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