School Nurse

A registered nurse is present from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during regular school days. The school nurse has a multi-faceted role within the school, supporting the physical, mental, emotional, and social health of students and their success in the learning process.

Programs Offered

  1. In order to address potential health problems that are barriers to learning or symptoms of underlying medical conditions, the nurses do yearly screening activities. They include vision, hearing, height, and weight, as well as head checks for lice/nits (three times annually for kindergarten and junior school students and once a year for middle and high school students). Kindergarten is done at the request of the teacher.
  2. Scoliosis screening is offered annually to middle school students.
  3. The school nurse works closely with the Administration and the Parents’ Association to ensure that the school is a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty, and staff.

Message from the School Nurse

February 2017

Dear Sacred Heart Parents,
We are quickly reaching the peak of the influenza season for 2016-17 and we need your help to reduce the chances of influenza spreading throughout the school. Overall, the incidences of influenza amongst our faculty, staff and students are relatively low and we would like to keep it this way. We are appealing to you for help in our fight against influenza, so please take a few minutes to read the following important information.

If your child has been diagnosed with influenza, please inform the school immediately. The Tokyo government requires us to keep records and report to them the number of influenza cases we have each week. We also need to keep a check on whether the number of cases in one class or grade level would warrant us closing that class/grade for a day or two to break the cycle of infection.

According to our school policy, if your child has been diagnosed with influenza:

  • they must stay home for 5 days from the first day the symptoms appeared.
  • the school must be informed of an influenza diagnosis.
  • upon returning to school, the student must be checked by the school nurse before going to class.
  • if a fever persists, the student should stay home until fever free without fever reducing medication for a period of 24 hours.

If your child has a fever but not influenza, the child may also not return to school until he/she has been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of Tylenol, Panadol, or any anti-fever medication.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, GA reports that it is Type A influenza which appears to be the dominant influenza strain this year. It may not be too late to get an influenza shot to protect your family. Please check with your doctor.

How does influenza spread?
Most experts believe that influenza viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with influenza cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get influenza by touching a surface or object that has influenza virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.

What are the symptoms of influenza?
Symptoms of influenza include:

  • fever (usually high)
  • headache
  • extreme tiredness
  • dry cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle aches
  • Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults

Although the term “stomach flu” is sometimes used to describe vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea, these illnesses are caused by certain other viruses, bacteria, or possibly parasites, and are rarely related to influenza.

How long is a person with influenza contagious?
The period when an infected person is contagious depends on the age and health of the person. You may be able to pass on influenza to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.

What is the difference between a cold and influenza?
Influenza and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Because these two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, influenza is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than influenza. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.

How can you tell the difference between a cold and influenza?
Because colds and influenza share many symptoms, it can be difficult (or even impossible) to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Special tests that usually must be done within the first few days of illness can be carried out, when needed to tell if a person has influenza.

Preventing and Treating influenza

What can I do to protect myself against influenza?
CDC recommends a yearly influenza vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different influenza viruses, the influenza vaccine protects against the main influenza viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness during the influenza season. (Three or four viruses, depending on which vaccine you get.) The vaccine can protect you from getting sick from these viruses or it can make your illness milder if you get a different influenza virus. See Vaccine Benefits for more information.

If you do get influenza, antiviral drugs are an important treatment option. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against influenza by keeping influenza viruses from reproducing in your body. Antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious influenza complications. This could be especially important for people at high risk. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

In addition, you should take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, like influenza. This includes staying away from sick people, frequent hand washing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, especially if someone is ill, to decrease your chances of getting or spreading influenza. If you are sick with influenza, reduce your contact with others and cover your cough to help keep germs from spreading. See Preventing influenza: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs for more information.

Thank you for your help and support in our fight against influenza. Please know that our school takes influenza seriously, and our classrooms are cleaned and disinfected every day. Teachers and staff are aware of the importance of students washing hands, and in keeping their classrooms clean and safe.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.
Nurses Sandey and Zahia

Flu Information from CDC

CDC (Center of Disease Control) recommends:

The first and most important step is to get a flu vaccination each year. But if you get the flu, there are prescription antiviral drugs that can treat your illness. Early treatment is very important. Everyday pre­ventive actions may slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.

How the flu is spread?

Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through coughing, sneezing, or talking to someone with the flu.

People infected with flu may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick. Young children, those who are severely ill, and those who have severely weakened immune systems may be able to infect others for longer than 5-7 days.

What are everyday preventive actions?

  1. Try to avoid close contact with sick people. If you or your child gets sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you (or your child) stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
  2. Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  3. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away after use and wash your hands. If a tissue is not available, cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve, not your hand.
  4. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  6. Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.

Useful Health Links

General Health Information

  • Kid’s Health - Information about health, behavior and development from before birth through teen years (in English)
  • WHO - World Health Organization (in English)
  • IDSC - Infectious Disease Surveillance Control (both in Japanese and English)
  • MOFA - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan both in Japanese and English)

Medicine (Drug) Information

Immunization/Vaccine

Useful at Japanese Clinics/Hospitals

Additional Information

Influenza Policy

  • A student/faculty/staff member diagnosed with Influenza must stay home for five days from the first day the symptoms appeared. The school must be informed of an Influenza diagnosis.
  • Upon returning to the school, the person must be checked by the school nurse before going to class.
  • If a fever persists, the student/faculty/staff member should stay home until fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication.