• December

    December Healthy Hints from the School Nurse

    The holidays are upon us and I wish all Brookside families a healthy and happy season.  To that end, here are a few tips for holiday health and safety.                                                                                               

    For Your Health: 

    • Eat right - Getting the proper protein, vitamins and minerals will help your immune system and keep that holiday weight gain to a minimum. Also try to maintain any doctor-ordered dietary restrictions.
    • Sleep tight - Sleep plays an important role in maintaining a robust immune system. Studies have shown that lack of sleep diminishes your t-cells which fight illness.                                                                         
    • Wash up- Washing your hands is the single most effective way of preventing colds and flu. Whenever you get home from crowded shopping malls, the gym, work or play, scrub off those germs.          

    For Your Safety:                                                                                                                                    Each holiday season, visits to urgent care centers or emergency rooms increase by 10 - 15% (according to hospital statistics in various states).  The main reasons for the visits are decorating mishaps, accidental burns, and poisonings.                                                  

    • Be safe when using a ladder: Make sure it is 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 ft in height. Don’t stand on the highest two rungs and it’s always a good idea to have someone spot you.
    • Avoid fire hazards: Set your tree away from heating vents and your fireplace. Place candles away from drafts, curtains or other flammable items and keep lighters and matches where your kids can’t reach them.  Check that your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors have fresh batteries. 
    • Be aware of possible sources of lead: String lights and artificial trees made in China may be coated in plastic that contains lead. Artificial trees that are older than nine years old may also contain lead and can give off lead dust as they deteriorate.  Wash hands after handling string lights, dispose of old trees. and check the label of any newer trees.
    • Avoid accidental poisonings: Decorate with holly and mistletoe up high; the berries and the leaves of these plants are poisonous to humans and pets. Poinsettia plants, while not considered poisonous, may cause vomiting or mouth and skin irritation. Accidental poisonings occur when children find medication in purses or guest rooms.  Store your guests’ handbags and any medications out of reach of young children. 
    • Avoid choking: Be aware of gadgets and toys that use button batteries. They are a choking hazard for young children and pets. Decorative pine cones, berries and dreidels are often reported as choking hazards also.  A good rule of thumb is that anything small enough to fit through a toilet paper roll is a potential choking hazard.                                                                                                                                                                   

    In other news:

    • When communicating an upcoming absence with the teacher, please include me in your email.  oharapau@cranfordschools.org 
    • Send your children dressed for outdoor play at recess.  We attempt to have outside recess as much as possible.
    • Please remember, if your child needs any medication (prescription, over the counter, nasal sprays, etc) during the school day, it must be dispensed by the nurse and a doctor’s note is required.                                                                                                                                                

                               Have a wonderful holiday season full of family, friends and good health!

    ~ Paula O’Hara, Brookside Place School Nurse



    November Healthy Hints from the School Nurse

    November is a time to begin preparing for the upcoming holiday season and, unfortunately, the upcoming flu season! This month at Brookside Place School, we will be highlighting the importance of hand washing and covering our cough/sneeze to prevent illness. 

    The single most effective way to prevent the spread of any illness is hand washing. November is a good time to review hand washing with your children. It is a simple recipe: take lots of water (it doesn’t have to be warm) and add soap.  Lather and scrub from wrists to fingertips for 20 seconds. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly.  Since soap and water are the best cleaners, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the use of hand sanitizers as a second line of cleaning if soap and water are not available.  When using sanitizers, choose one with at least 60% alcohol. Apply generously and do not wipe off the excess. Rub your entire hands until dry. Remind your children to wash throughout the day and particularly when they arrive home from school or any public place.  Leave outside germs outside!

    Additionally, remind your family to avoid touching their “T Zone,” eyes, nose and mouth, and to discard used tissues. Since germs can spray up to six feet, please remind them to cover their coughs and sneezes with their elbow.  

    The CDC recommends everyone over the age of six months receive the flu vaccine before the end of October. The vaccine takes two weeks to give full immunity, so having it early gives you a better chance of protection. (Flu lasts from from October until March). The vaccine is inactive so you cannot get the flu from the vaccine. Moreover it is not contraindicated in children with mild febrile illness or upper respiratory infections. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor if you have an egg allergy before receiving the Flu vaccine. Haven’t gotten it yet?  It’s not too late! The vaccine can be given anytime during the flu season.  Spread by droplets (coughing or sneezing) or from direct contact with infected items, symptoms of the flu appear 1-4 days after exposure.  A person is contagious from one day prior until seven days after symptoms appear, however children may be contagious even longer.

    It is also important to stay home until you are symptom and fever-free for at least 24 hours without using fever reducing medication. This will help prevent the spread of illness and protect you from contracting other germs while you are still recovering.

    For more detailed information, visit the CDC website at:  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/

    Other Notes: 

    • The flu vaccine is recommended, but it is not required for admission in New Jersey elementary schools. Therefore, you do not need to send a doctor’s note about receiving the flu vaccine.  
    • A reminder to please clear out voicemails so, if necessary, I can leave a message on your cell phones. 
    • Please dress your children appropriately for outdoor recess each school day. 

     Thank you and have a wonderful November! ~ Paula O’Hara, Brookside Place School Nurse


    October Healthy Hints from the School Nurse

    October is here and I hope everyone has settled into a great Back to School routine. In the rush to get off to a great start it can be difficult for families to take the time for things that will help overall health and well-being.  Here are a few things to take time for:

    • Time to eat right ~ Healthy meals and snacks will power up your children’s bodies and minds.


    • Time to sleep ~ A good night’s sleep includes 8-10 hours for children. It is restorative and restful.  Also the very important Human Growth Hormone is released into the bloodstream during sleep.


    • Time to Play ~ Active play benefits your health, lowers stress and helps meet children’s daily recommended  60 minutes of activity. 


    • Time to relax ~ Studies have shown that daily stress can take a toll on our physical and mental health. Practicing relaxation can decrease some chronic health concerns, restore energy and lead to a more positive mindset.  Relaxation doesn’t have to be just yoga;  find a fun activity to do: read, color, create or simply sit quietly.  A recent study at University of North Carolina concluded that creativity is associated with happiness.


    • Time to think positive thoughts ~Recent studies at Kings College in London and University of Kentucky have found that positive thinking reduces anxiety and stress and boosts self confidence. Help your children create their own positive mantra.


    • Time to smile ~ There are plenty of reasons to smile. Although the exact number is in dispute, all scientific sources agree that it takes fewer facial muscles to smile than it does to frown. A University of Kansas study found that smiling reduces heart rate and blood pressure during stressful situations.  And it makes others feel good too!


    • And finally, as professed each day by Mr.Klimko on the morning announcements, take time each day to be kind!


    Other important notes:

    Bike Racks:  A reminder that we have bike racks at the first, second and fifth grade doors.  It is wonderful to see all three racks being used!

    Medications: All medications taken during school, prescription, over the counter, eye drops, lotions, require a doctor order and written parent permission.  Forms can be found on the district website or in my office.

    Excused Gym Time: A child may be excused from gym with written parent permission for up to five days.  After that time a doctor note is required.  A student with a cast or hard splint may be excluded from gym/recess for their safety and the safety of others.Any child with an injury requiring surgery or cast, sling, splint must have a doctor note to return to gym.

    Earrings: In order to participate in gym, earrings must be removed or covered with a Bandaid.  It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to provide the bandages. Keeping a small supply in your child’s backpack may be helpful.

    Absence Procedures: Please include me, Ms. O’Hara, in communications about scheduled absences. I may be reached at 908-709-6246 and Please empty your voice mailboxes so that I may leave a message if needed. Thank you.


    ~ Paula O’Hara, Brookside Place School Nurse