Beginning January 25, 2016, students in grades 7, 8, and 9 will be participating in the postural screening program (also known as screening for scoliosis and kyphosis, abnormal curves in the spine). Students in grades 8 and 10 will have their hearing & vision tested, and students in grades 7 and 10 will have their Body Mass Index calculated. These screenings are performed as required by Chapter 71, Section 57, 105 C.M.R. 200.400 and 200.500 of the Massachusetts General Laws (c. 111, ss. 3 & 5).
A letter detailing the screenings was sent home with your child the week of January 18, 2016. Please call the nurse at 978-544-2542, if you have questions or concerns.
The CRAFFT is a behavioral health screening tool for use with children under the age of 21 and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Substance Abuse for use with adolescents. It consists of a series of 6 questions developed to screen adolescents for high risk alcohol and other drug use disorders simultaneously. It is a short, effective screening tool meant to assess whether a longer conversation about the context of use, frequency, and other risks and consequences of alcohol and other drug use is warranted.
Follow the link to learn more information regarding the CRAFFT Screening Tool.
Parents/Guardians of GRADUATING SENIORS: Please be aware that your son/daughter will be given their school file (academic/senior) on the morning after graduation rehearsal, included with this is their medical/health file. Colleges require proof of immunizations, this is included in the medical/health file. Congratulations Seniors!
Ah, spring! Backyard cookouts, vacations, camping, walks in the woods… and ticks. Lots and lots of ticks, those tiny parasitic marvels, just waiting for an unsuspecting victim to brush past. Ticks need blood to live and breed, and any blood will do: bird, deer, dog, human. They’re not fussy. Contrary to popular belief, ticks don’t cause disease, they transmit disease, and very effectively, too! Ticks transmit a number of bacterial diseases but the most common and most serious one in the northeast is Lyme disease. The majority of cases occur in June, July, and August, the three months in which ticks actively seek hosts and human outdoor activity is greatest.
In the recent “Health of Massachusetts Report”, the Mass DPH finds that changes in the way we live, where we live, and population density are responsible for the more than 10-fold increase in reported Lyme disease over the past 15 years. Even with these dramatic increases, many cases are not diagnosed and most cases are not reported; and thousands of people suffer with illness and complications, which can include joint, nerve, and heart problems. Most cases of Lyme disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics. The key is early diagnosis. Typical symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash that looks like a bull’s eye. For some pictures of that characteristic rash, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Lyme disease website http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/. And for information on symptoms and precautions to take, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sitehttp://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm049298.htm
There’s only one way to get Lyme disease. You must be bitten by an infected deer tick (sounds like the plot of a horror movie). Dog ticks don’t transmit Lyme disease (though they can transmit the rare Rocky Mountain Fever), but how can you tell the difference between ticks? Print your tick identification card from the Mass DPHhttp://www.mass.gov/Eeohhs2/images/dph/cdc/tick_id_card.jpg. Dog ticks are those giant ticks that you can spot a mile away (they are about the size of a watermelon seed). A nymph deer tick, on the other hand, is the size of the period at the end of this sentence. It takes about 24- hours for a tick to fully attach to the host(that’s you) and start feeding. So, a tick that has been attached for less than a day probably hasn’t had enough time to transmit the disease. The longer the tick is attached the greater the risk of disease.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) offers some helpful recommendations for outdoor workers to prevent tick bites that are also useful for any of us that spend time outdoorshttp://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/lyme/ . If you are in an area likely to have ticks, the most important thing you can do is to check yourself for ticks once a day. If you find an attached tick, remove it by following these instructions http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rmsf/Prevention.htm (and check out some old wives’ tales that don’t work!). Once the tick is removed, put it in a zip lock bag and freeze it. You may need it for identification if you develop symptoms later on.
As with most diseases, prevention is key. The Mass DPH has a no-nonsense 4-page brochure on Preventing Disease Spread by Ticks. It covers landscaping tips to reduce ticks on your property, how to dress in high-tick areas, and tick repellents http://www.mass.gov/Eeohhs2/docs/dph/cdc/lyme/prevent_disease.pdf . The DPH also offers a tick maze to amuse your kids (and give you the creeps) http://www.mass.gov/Eeohhs2/docs/dph/cdc/lyme/lyme_maze.pdf.
If you want more information on Lyme disease, the National Library of Medicine has an in-depth video tutorialhttp://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorials/lymedisease/htm/index.htm Ticks are around whether we like it or not so arm yourself with information and don’t let ticks put the bite on you!
Food for Thought!
How are you doing with that “eat healthy” New Year’s resolution? Still going strong or did it fade away by January 3rd? Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to stick to vague, unmeasurable goals. Instead, make a real plan to improve your diet. Whenever you’re planning a meal, shopping at the grocery store, sitting at a restaurant, standing in front of the refrigerator, or looking at a vending machine - choose the foods that improve your health and energy and avoid the foods that increase your risk for obesity and diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But we all know it takes effort to eat right and undo years of poor eating habits. You CAN do it! How about one simple change? Make a plan to eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) less than 25% of Americans are doing that one thing. (No, chocolate covered raisins are not a fruit)
There’s tons of nutrition information out there – some good, some not so good, and some downright dangerous. How can you cut through the junk and get to the facts? The Harvard School of Public Health has developed a Healthy Eating Pyramid with 5 quick tips to get you started http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/pyramid/ Whether you’re looking for healthy snack ideas for kids, eating right for older adults, or eating healthy on the run, the American Dietetic Association has helpful nutrition tips http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=206
You are what you eat, and that goes for kids too. More than ever, kids are inundated with poor food choices – from television commercials to vending machines at school to fast food joints giving out toys. Check out KidsHealth http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_fit/nutrition/habits.html for some great ideas to improve your kid’s nutrition and encourage smart eating habits. They even have sections just for kids and teens. And try this quiz to see how healthy your kid’s diet really is http://www.ahealthyme.com/topic/kidnutquiz Most people use the same handful of recipes over and over. Learn to make some new heart-healthy dishes that your whole family will love with some tasty recipes from our friends at the American Heart Associationhttp://www.americanheart.org/deliciousdecisions/jsp/home/home.jsp?_requestid=3160630
Losing weight is one of the top New Year’s resolutions every year. If you’ve committed to losing weight for good this year, try this surprising quiz “Do You Know How to Lose Weight?” http://www.ahealthyme.com/topic/weightlossquiz The Weight-control Information Network (part of the National Institutes of Health) gives you the facts on some common weight loss and nutrition mythshttp://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/myths.htm If you have vowed to never eat another french fry, you’re bound to fail. After all, none of us like to feel deprived. But if you adopt some simple, healthy behaviors – you WILL be successful!
Today is the perfect day to make good food choices and to eat like your life depends on it!