September, 2019

Hello Parents & Guardians;

As we embrace the start of another school year, it can be said that just as we had loose ends to tie up in June, there are a few of importance as we wrap up the month of September. I ask that you please check with your student that he or she has returned all of the necessary health forms that were given out during the first few days of school. The blue Student Emergency Contact card is of great importance in the event that you need to be reached should your child become ill. Prescription medication, with the signed physician’s order, should be dropped off to me during the school day, Monday-Friday, 7:30 AM-2:00 PM. Freshman and newly enrolled students would also have a purple Student Health Inventory and a beige Potassium Iodide consent form that need to be completed and returned to my office as well. All of this information is secured in your student’s file here in the Health Office.

Health screenings of height/weight and vision/hearing will be conducted for Grade 10 students, with Grade 9 students screened for scoliosis. You will receive notification via mail of the scheduled screening for your child and given the opportunity to "opt out" if you choose to do so.

As we approach the flu season, please keep in mind the following advice of the CDC who says “Take 3” actions to fight the flu:

  1. Take time to get a flu vaccine
  2. Take every day preventive actions to stop spread of germs; wash your hands, cover your mouth when coughing/sneezing & see a doctor if symptoms persist
  3. Take flu antiviral medications if your doctor prescribes them

Also, as we have seen on the news these past few weeks, there is great concern over the dangers of vaping, especially among the teen population. Information regarding vaping is included here on the “Nurse’s” page of the SL website.

And, if at any time you have concerns or questions regarding your child, please do not hesitate to call me at 781-585-3844, ext. 1013.

Mrs. Penny Svenson, RN, NCSN


On October 4, 2019 the FDA posted to their website the following recommendations with regards to THC containing products and any vaping products obtained off the street. This warning stems from the reporting of more than 1,000 lung injuries, some resulting in deaths, following the use of vaping products. The recommendations are as follows:

  • Do not use vaping products that contain THC.
  • Do not use vaping products-particularly those containing THC - obtained off the street or from other illicit or social sources.
  • Do not modify or add any substances, such as THC or other oils, to vaping products, including those purchased through retail establishments.
  • No vaping product has been approved by the FDA for therapeutic uses or authorized for marketing by the FDA. The Agency recommends contacting your health care provider for more information about the use of THC to treat medical conditions.
  • No youth or pregnant women should be using any vaping product, regardless of the substance. Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using these products. If you are an adult who uses e-cigarettes instead of cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes.
  • If you choose to use these products, monitor yourself for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) and promptly seek medical attention if you have concerns about your health.If you are concerned about your health after using a vaping product, contact your health care provider, or you can also call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Health care providers can also contact their local poison control center.

Don’t assume your teen wouldn’t vape or that you wouldn’t know that your teen was doing it. Many good students, star athletes, and otherwise “great kids”experiment with e-cigarettes at one time or another.

What to look for:

  1. Sweet scents such as bubble gum or candy flavored scents wafting through the room. This is the after-effects of cloud vapor. E-juices come in many flavor combinations. The sweeter the better for most teens.
  2. Skin flare-ups such as acne or red spots may take longer to heal.
  3. Nosebleeds are experiences as vaping dries out the nasal passageways. Dry cracking skin around the nose is also another indicator.
  4. Increased thirst is due to vaping being hydroscopic, meaning it dries out the mouth and throat. Drinking more liquids and urinating more frequently is a warning sign your teen may be vaping.
  5. Caffeine intake may be cut back due to the combination of nicotine and caffeine increasing irritability, mood swings and anxiety.
  6. “Vapers Tongue” is the loss of flavor perception when vaping. Added salt may suddenly be part of your teen’s diet if vaping. Vaper’s Tongue is a common term used among vape users.
  7. Pneumonia may occur as the nanoparticles present in e-cig vapor cause inflammation in the lungs, which can lead to pockets of bacterial infection resulting in pneumonia
  8. Unfamiliar spare parts such as cartridges, spare wires, cotton balls or small containers (pods), unfamiliar USB drives or battery charges may be found in your trash bin. Ask your teen about them.
  9. Sleep patterns can be affected by the nicotine ingested by your teen. Staying up later or sleeping in, along with restlessness/sleeplessness are indicators of a nicotine habit.
  10. Your child may be more irritable or easily frustrated when they vape, especially if they go long periods in between uses.
  11. Risky behaviors or making otherwise unsound decisions may be exhibited as your teen vapes and impairs the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Using addictive substances is a behavioral risk in and of itself. Nicotine changes the brain’s chemistry which can lead to psychological or personality differences separate from typical teenage hormonal changes. Watch out for these signs.