Seasons Greetings!

Yes, it is that time of year once again! As we enter the holiday season it is important to remember to take a deep breath before embarking on the hustle and bustle that occurs this time of year. It can be so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activities taking place that a little sniffle or cough may be overlooked and before you know it you or a loved one has come down with the FLU. To avoid contacting the flu, everyone six months and everyone older should be immunized against the flu. Other precautions one can take are;

  • avoid close contact with those that are ill
  • cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing/sneezing and throw those tissue in the trash.
  • If you should become ill, stay home until your fever is gone for 24 hours, except for seeing your doctor.

Before resuming normal activities your fever should be gone for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication. For more information on combating the flu check out the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website; Flu: A Guide for Parents, www.mass.gov/flu .

What also arrives at this time of year is our cold New England weather which can make it not so enjoyable for our youngsters who are outside waiting for the school bus to arrive. So whether waiting for the bus, hitting the ski slopes or just outside enjoying the brisk winter air, the following is a list of helpful hints to avoid frostbite/hypothermia, for both young and old alike.

  • Pay attention to weather forecasts
  • Dress in several layers of loose warm clothing
  • Wear hats that fully cover the ears, warm boots and mittens
  • Drink plenty of warm fluids
  • Avoid or limit outdoor activities when the temperature nears or dips below 5 degrees fahrenheit
  • Take frequent breaks indoors from the cold.
  • Frostbite/hypothermia are medical emergencies, seek medical attention as soon as possible

REMINDER - Physical Examinations

When submitting a student physical examination, whether it be for athletics or compliance with MA state law, please be aware that it needs to legible in order for it to be read and entered into our data base. We are finding those submitted via smartphones/email cannot be enlarged and printed for what is needed to process the information you are submitting. Whenever possible, have your student bring a hard copy of his or her physical exam to school where they can drop it off to the Health Office.

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy winter season,

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.