Student Health

The Dowdle Health Clinic is located on the first floor of the main building. It is open during school hours and is staffed by two registered nurses. For any health-related questions or concerns, please contact Patti Alberts, R.N., via email, or call 813-839-5371, ext. 342.

Immunization Requirements for Hillsborough County Schools

Please click here to see a list of immunization requirements for all students enrolled in a Hillsborough County school. The immunization record must show that the student has met the minimum state requirement prior to the start of school.

Is my child well enough to go to school? Some tips to help you decide.

If your child...

Has a fever of 100 degrees or more:
The child should stay home for 24 hours after the last episode.

Has vomited or had diarrhea:
The child should stay home until 24 hours after the last episode.

Has any rash for which you do not know the cause:
Check with your physician/clinic before sending the child to school.

Has an illness:
Keep the student at home and call the school daily to report the illness.

Here are some additional guidelines that might help in a parent's decision-making:

  • Fever: A fever of 100 or more signals an illness that is probably going to make a student uncomfortable and unable to function well in class. Your child should stay home for 24 hours once the temperature returns to normal.
  • Vomiting, Diarrhea or Severe Nausea: These are symptoms that require a student to remain at home until a normal diet is tolerated the night before and the morning of school and no symptoms are present for 24 hours.
  • Infectious Diseases: Diseases such as impetigo, pink eye with thick drainage and strep throat require a doctor's examination and prescription for medication. Contacting the doctor and using the medicine as directed for the full recommended length of time are necessary. Once medication has been started and the child is feeling well, he or she may return to school 24 hours after medication has been administered.
  • Chicken Pox: Students with chicken pox may return to school when all the scabs are completely dried and no new lesions are developing (usually 5-7 days).
  • Rashes: Rashes or patches of broken, itchy skin need to be examined by a doctor if they appear to be spreading or not improving.

Clinic Policy for Over-the-Counter Medication

The Academy asks that the following procedures be followed whenever it is necessary to administer medication at school:

  • The clinic keeps a limited list of over-the-counter medications in stock. If you would like your child to be able to receive these medications when necessary, you must complete the form for administration of over-the-counter medications at school. The form must be signed by your physician.
  • If it is necessary for your child to receive any other over-the-counter medication not listed on the form, you must completely fill out and sign the school consent form Parental Authorization for Administration of Medicine at School. The form must be signed by the physician or be accompanied by a note from the physician giving us permission to administer the medication to your child. The physician may fax this note to the clinic, or you may ask for one during your appointment. The school fax number is 813-839-1486. You must send in the medication in the original container, labeled with your child’s name.
  • All prescription medication must be in the original container with the pharmacy label on it (child’s name, dose, etc.) It must also be accompanied by the completed school consent form Parental Authorization for Administration of Medicine at School. You must completely fill out and sign this form and send it in with the medication. The information on this form is needed for the proper administration of the medication. You may obtain this form from the clinic or the Elementary Office. You may also download it from the AHN website or it can be faxed to you.
    • The medication must be brought in by a parent or other responsible adult. It cannot be sent in with the student.
    • If you find that your child needs to take medication at school and you are unable to obtain the physician’s note or school consent forms, then you are welcomed to come to school and administer the medication to your child.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call Patti Alberts in the clinic at 813-839-5371, ext. 342.

Over-the Counter Medications Stocked in the Clinic

A limited number of over-the-counter medications are currently stocked in the clinic for your convenience. In the event your child should come to the clinic with symptoms of mild discomfort and you are unable to come to school to administer medication, the nurses may administer these medications to your child as needed. The medications may only be administered if you have filled out the Administration of Over-the-Counter Medications at School form. The form must be signed by both the parent and the physician. You may download this form from the Forms and Immunization Information box.

The clinic currently stocks:

  • Tylenol/Ibuprofen
  • Benadryl
  • Mylanta/Tums
  • Throat lozenges/Cepacol
  • Cough drops
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Neosporin ointment
  • Antiseptic spray

Florida Department of Education Required Parent Information About Meningococcal Disease & Vaccination

1. What is meningococcal disease?
Meningococcal disease is a serious illness, caused by a bacteria. It is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2 through 18 years old in the United States.

Meningitis is an infection of fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. Meningococcal disease also causes blood infections. About 2,600 people get meningococcal disease each year in the U.S.--10 to 15 percent of these people die, in spite of treatment with antibiotics. Of those who live, another 11 to19 percent lose their arms or legs, become deaf, have problems with their nervous systems, become mentally retarded or suffer seizures or strokes.

Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but it is most common in infants less than one year of age and people with certain medical conditions, such as lack of a spleen. College freshmen who live in dormitories have an increased risk of getting meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal infections can be treated with drugs such as penicillin. Still, about one out of every 10 people who get the disease dies from it, and many others are affected for life. This is why preventing the disease through use of meningococcal vaccine is important for people at highest risk.

2. Meningococcal Vaccine
Two meningococcal vaccines are available in the U.S.:

  • Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (M.P.S.V.4) has been available since the 1970s.
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (M.C.V.4) was licensed in 2005.

Both vaccines can prevent four types of meningococcal disease, including two of the three types most common in the United States and a type that causes epidemics in Africa. Meningococcal vaccines cannot prevent all types of the disease, but they do protect many people who might become sick if they didn’t get the vaccine.

Both vaccines work well, and protect about 90 percent of those who get it. M.C.V.4 is expected to give better, longer-lasting protection. M.C.V.4 should also be better at preventing the disease from spreading from person to person.

3. Who should get meningococcal vaccine and when?
M.C.V.4 is recommended for all children at their routine preadolescent visit (11 to 12 years of age). For those who have never gotten M.C.V.4 previously, a dose is recommended at high school entry.

Other adolescents who want to decrease their risk of meningococcal disease can also get the vaccine.

A meningococcal vaccine is also recommended for other people at increased risk for meningococcal disease:

  • College freshmen living in dormitories.
  • Microbiologists who are routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria.
  • U.S. military recruits.
  • Anyone traveling to, or living in, a part of the world where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa.
  • Anyone who has a damaged spleen, or whose spleen has been removed.
  • Anyone who has terminal complement component deficiency (an immune system disorder).
  • People who might have been exposed to meningitis during an outbreak.

M.C.V.4 is the preferred vaccine for people 11 to 55 years of age in these risk groups, but M.P.S.V.4 can be used if M.C.V.4 is not available. M.P.S.V.4 should be used for children 2 to 10 years old and adults over 55 who are at risk.

How Many Doses?

People 2 years of age and older should get one dose. (Sometimes an additional dose is recommended for people who remain at high risk. Ask your provider.)

M.P.S.V.4 may be recommended for children 3 months to 2 years of age under special circumstances. These children should get two doses, three months apart.

4. Some people should not get meningococcal vaccine or should wait.

  • Anyone who has ever had a severe (life-threatening) allergic reaction to a previous dose of either meningococcal vaccine should not get another dose.
  • Anyone who has a severe (life threatening) allergy to any vaccine component should not get the vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.
  • Anyone who is moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should probably wait until they recover. Ask your doctor or nurse. People with a mild illness can usually get the vaccine.
  • Anyone who has ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome should talk with their doctor before getting M.C.V. 4.
  • Meningococcal vaccines may be given to pregnant women. However, M.C.V.4 is a new vaccine and has not been studied in pregnant women as much as M.P.S.V.4 has. It should be used only if clearly needed.
  • Meningococcal vaccines may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

5. What are the risks from meningococcal vaccine?
A vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of meningococcal vaccine causing serious harm or death is extremely small.

Mild problems
Up to about half of people who get meningococcal vaccines have mild side effects, such as redness or pain where the shot was given. If these problems occur, they usually last for one or two days. They are more common after M.C.V.4 than after M.P.S.V.4.

A small percentage of people who receive the vaccine develop a fever.

Severe problems
Serious allergic reactions, within a few minutes to a few hours of the shot, are very rare.

A serious nervous system disorder called Guillain-Barré Syndrome (or G.B.S.) has been reported among some people who received M.C.V. 4. This happens so rarely that it is currently not possible to tell if the vaccine might be a factor. Even if it is, the risk is very small.

6. What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?

What should I look for?
Any unusual condition, such as a high fever or behavior changes. Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness.

What should I do?
Call a doctor, or get the person to a doctor right away. Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened and when the vaccination was given.

Ask your doctor, nurse or health department to report the reaction by filing a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) form, available through the VAERS web site at http://www.vaers.hhs.gov/, or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS does not provide medical advice.

7. How can I learn more?

Head Lice Policy

Head lice have become more and more of a problem in schools over the last few years. The number of children infested with head lice is increasing all across the country. Control of head lice depends on prompt diagnosis and effective treatment. Your help in inspecting your child at least WEEKLY throughout the school year for the presence of head lice would be greatly appreciated.

Pediculosis (head lice) is characterized by itching scalp. The nits (eggs) are grayish-white but may vary in color and cling to hair strands, particularly around the ears and at the back of the neck. The lice are small, clear or reddish-brown wingless insects.

We suggest the following procedure for inspecting your child for head lice:

  • Under bright light begin looking at the back of the head just above the neck area.
  • Part the hair section by section and look closely for head lice or nits (eggs). Eggs will usually be located near the scalp.
  • Depending on the length and thickness of the hair, it should take between 5 and 15 minutes to properly inspect a child's head.

If you suspect your child is infested with head lice please notify the school nurse. You may also want to notify your child’s immediate circle of friends in order to prevent re-infestation. In addition, the entire family should be inspected for head lice as well. For information on how to treat your child's head lice infestation consult your family physician, a local pharmacist, or feel free to contact the school nurse. Some recommendations for treatment are given below:

Treatment:
  • Several shampoos are available to treat head lice. Some can be bought over-the-counter at the local drugstore (example: RID, Pyrinate A-200, R & C, Kwell or Nix Rinse). Prescription remedies are also available. Discuss the selection with your physician or pharmacist.
  • All persons in the household, including adults, should be checked and treated if necessary.
  • Remove all clothing.
  • Use shampoo as directed on label. Note: Many of these products are applied undiluted to dry hair.
  • Rinse hair thoroughly with water.
  • Treatment for head lice usually takes at least one hour. Once your child has been treated, the head lice will be killed. The next step is toremove all the eggs (nits) from the child’s hair. This step is the most crucial and will require most of your time and effort. There is no known product available over-the-counter which will kill head lice eggs. Strip nits from hair by hand using your fingers, a fine-toothed comb, or tweezers. If all the nits are not removed, you will have more live lice in 7-10 days!
  • You should try to remove all nits before your child returns to school. This is the only way we can be sure your child does not become re-infected.
  • Put on clean clothes after shampooing.
  • Repeat procedure in 7-10 days if necessary.
  • Wash in hot water, all clothing, towels, bed linens, and stuffed animals/toys used by person with head lice.
  • Soak combs and brushes for an hour in a 2% Lysol solution or put them in a pan of water on the stove and heat to 150 degrees for 5-10 minutes.
  • Dry clean all coats, hats and stuffed toys that cannot be washed or put them in a hot clothes dryer for 20 minutes.
  • Vacuum all carpets and upholstered furniture well.
  • TO PREVENT SPREAD OF HEAD LICE, do not share articles that come in contact with head, neck or shoulders, Example: combs, scarves, hats, and coats, etc. Special Caution: Once a special shampoo has been used correctly, the nits (eggs) MUST BE REMOVED BY HAND. It will not loosen eggs to use the special shampoo over and over again. It may DAMAGE the child’s scalp. Girls are ENCOURAGED to wear their hair up when they come to school.

Homes or schools don’t get head lice--people do. Head lice require human blood to survive. Vacuuming is the best way to remove lice or fallen hairs with attached nits from furniture, rugs, stuffed animals and car seats. Pesticidal sprays are unwarranted and may pose environmental hazards. Vacuum and save your time and energy for what benefits you the most – thorough nit removal.

Remember, the key to lice prevention is for parents to make a habit of checking their child’s head once a week, and thorough nit removal. Ultimately, it will always be the “parent power” behind the effort that makes the difference.

For further information, please contact Patti Alberts, R.N.

Tdap Vaccine Requirement

The Florida Department of Health requires that students entering 7th or 8th grade receive a very specific form of the “Tetanus” vaccine. This vaccine is referred to as the Tdap (combined Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis vaccines). This requirement is in addition to the previous immunization requirements that are grade-appropriate. The Tdap can be administered to students 10 years of age and above if prior Td booster was given at least two years ago.

You will need to send in an updated Immunization Form when your child enters 7th grade.

Documentation from the student’s health care provider should specify that the student has gotten the Tdap vaccine on the Florida Certificate of Immunization (form 680). If documentation does not specify the Tdap vaccine, the parent/guardian will be asked to return the form to the health care provider for clarification.

Students who receive a Td will be given a temporary medical exemption of no less than two years and will be required to receive the Tdap at the end of that time.

Four additional vaccines are not mandated, but parents are encouraged to discuss them with their child’s physician. These are: two doses of Varicella (chicken pox), the meningococcal meningitis vaccine, Hepatitis A series and the HPV vaccine series.

Please schedule your appointment with your physician as soon as possible, or you may contact the Hillsborough County Health Department for appointments or further information. Immunizations are provided FREE at the Health Department.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT CLINICS

  • Main Health Department 4951-B E. Adamo Dr. Suite 210 (307-8077)
  • Kelton Clinic 4704 Montgomery Ave. (307-8055)
  • North Hillsborough 9827 Sheldon Road (307-8053)
  • Sulphur Springs Clinic 8605 N. Mitchell Ave. (307-8054)
  • Joyce Ely Clinic 205 14th Ave. SE, Ruskin (307-8056)
  • Plant City Clinic 302 N. Michigan Ave. Plant City (307-8057)
  • University Area 13601 N. 22nd Street (307-8058)

FORMS & IMMUNIZATION INFORMATION


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