Health Guides

Guides on health issues such as asthma, head lice immunisation. Click on the guide headline to open full guide.

Gastroenteritis

It can be quite distressing for parents and children alike when they catch gastroenteritis (gastro). Melbourne Montessori School is committed to preventing the spread of gastroenteritis, as children can be particularly vulnerable. Attached is a health guide from the Victorian government on what you can do as a parent if symptoms of gastro present in your child.

In summary:

  • Gastroenteritis can cause dehydration, especially in young children and babies. Everyone, especially children, needs to drink plenty of clear fluids if they have gastroenteritis.
  • Gastroenteritis is easy to catch. To avoid spreading gastro – wash your hands with warm water and soap. It is Melbourne Montessori School’s policy for children to stay away from school a minimum of 48 hours since their last symptom of gastroenteritis.
  • See your doctor if symptoms continue.

Free Whooping Cough Vaccine: Parents of Newborn Babies

Parents can protect their new born baby from whooping cough by protecting themselves with a free vaccine. Read the attached information to find out:

  • Why, as a parent of a newborn, you should have the vaccine
  • What is whooping cough
  • Why babies need extra protection against whooping cough
  • How to obtain the free vaccine
  • Who can receive the vaccine for free

Exclusion from School due to Infectious Disease

The attached policy has been issued by the Department of Health in relation to the minimum period of exclusion from a primary school and children’s services centre for infectious diseases cases and contacts.

Asthma and School Holidays – Tips for Travel

The following guide is provided by The Asthma Foundation. When travelling it is important to be aware that different locations and environments may harbour triggers for asthma, particularly new triggers that you or your child may not have come into contact with before.

  • Even if asthma is mild or has not occurred for some time, travel to a new destination can often bring about asthma symptoms
  • People with asthma should always carry reliever medication and a spacer with them when they travel to ensure they can treat asthma symptoms quickly if they occur
  • It is important that people with asthma take enough medication to last for the trip, and have repeat prescriptions with them if they expect to run out during the trip
  • People with asthma should have a review with their doctor and update their Asthma Action Plan prior to the trip, so that a clear guide is available on what to do if asthma symptoms or an asthma attack occurs while on holiday
  • Ensure that travel insurance adequately covers medical costs and needs while on holiday. Some policies may not cover for asthma treatment if a recent asthma emergency has occurred. Be sure to read the fine print or ask the insurance provider about their asthma coverage

For further information, please contact the Asthma Foundation of Victoria on 1800 645 130 or email schools@asthma.org.au

 

Asthma, Coughs and Colds: Information for Parents and Carers

This following guide is provided by The Asthma Foundation. The common cold, caused by an upper respiratory tract infection, is one of the most common illnesses for children and adults in Australia. Colds are more common in winter months as people spend more time indoors, in close contact, and can be more likely to pass on viruses that cause the common cold.
Colds can be a trigger for asthma, and asthma management can become more difficult for children and teenagers attending school if they have a cough or a cold.
Ensure your child reduces the risk of passing on coughs and colds by avoiding coughing or sneezing on, or near other people and that they wash their hands appropriately after blowing their nose or handling used tissues. Coughing or sneezing onto the inside of their elbow instead of their hands can also prevent the transmission of infections.
If your child is unwell, it is recommended that they stay home and rest to reduce the chance of spreading infections and to give them a better chance to recover quickly.
While there is no known cure for the common cold, symptoms such as headache, cough and runny nose can be managed, and children with asthma are advised to see their doctor before using any medication, or herbal and natural remedies, as these may react with their asthma medications. Many cold and flu medications available over the counter are not suitable for children and teenagers, and some medications may also trigger asthma symptoms, it is best to avoid these unless recommended by your doctor.
People with asthma should avoid the following medications if possible:

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen/Naproxen (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications)
  • Beta blockers tablets and eye drops (used for high blood pressure and glaucoma)
  • ACE inhibitors (used to control blood pressure)

Saline drops and nasal sprays may help relieve blocked sinuses, and gargling with salty water may help relieve a sore throat. If cold symptoms become more severe, parents and carers are encouraged to consult their doctor as soon as possible for advice.Nasal sprays should not be shared between people as this may transmit infections and viruses.It is also highly recommended that in the lead-up to winter, people with asthma ask make use of influenza (flu shot)vaccinations.
For more information on the common cold, medications and references used in this article please see the Better Health Channel(State Government of Victoria) – www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au and the NPS website – www.nps.org.au.
For further information, please contact the Asthma Foundation of Victoria on 1800 645 130 or email schools@asthma.org.au

Asthma Sufferers Back to School Checklist

While their asthma is just one of the many things to get ready for starting term one, this checklist will hopefully make the process easier.

Throughout the year there are significant increases, or ‘spikes’, in asthma presentations to hospitals and emergency departments:

  • Approximately 1 in 10 children and adolescents in Australia have asthma, and for children and adolescents with asthma these ‘spikes’ usually occur towards the end of holiday periods as they return to school or preschool
  • A significant ‘spike’ in asthma presentations and admissions to hospital, of children and adolescents experiencing severe asthma exacerbations, occurs throughout the first few weeks of February

For this reason, The Asthma Foundation has prepared this checklist for parents and carers to go through to prepare their child for the school year.

Is your child ready for new school year? – Checklist

  • My child has had an annual asthma management review with their doctor and has had their Asthma Action Plan reviewed
  • My child has up to date ambulance membership
  • My child knows how to recognise early symptoms of asthma and knows when to seek help from staff if they experience asthma symptoms
  • My child understands the importance of taking reliever medication when necessary and knows how to use their puffer and spacer, either independently or with assistance
  • An updated Asthma Action Plan has been provided to my child’s school/children’s service. Even if their Asthma Action Plan has not changed from last year it is important that a letter is provided to the school/children’s service informing staff of this. It is vital that staff know what to do for your child in an asthma emergency
  • A reliever puffer and spacer (and mask for children under 5 years old) has been provided to the school/children’s service for my child. With the change in infection control guidelines, spacers can no longer be shared between children and it is vital that each child has their own equipment
  • I have read and understood the school/children’s services asthma policy

For more information, resources or assistance completing this checklist please contact The Asthma Foundation of Victoria on 1800 ASTHMA (278 462) or visit www.asthma.org.au

Head Lice – Treatment and Control

While children are at school many families will have contact with head lice. The information contained in the attached information sheet will help you treat and control head lice and includes:

  • Catching head lice
  • Finding head lice
  • Treating head lice
  • Testing resistance
  • Head lice combs
  • Head lice eggs
  • Health regulations
  • Preventing head lice

For full details click on this link to the “Treating and controlling headlice” information sheet.

Forum for Parents of Children who have Asthma or Allergies

Are you a part of the local footy team, scouts club or netball club?
Do you worry about your children’s asthma when they are not at home?
Learn practical strategies for helping your children to live well with asthma each day from people who know.
Join The Asthma Foundation of Victoria’s online forum. Ask a question, share your story, meet with others in your area.
Call (03) 9326 7088 for more information or go to forum.asthma.org.au

Asthma tips for Parents and Carers this Winter

Winter can be a hard time for people with asthma as could weather, coughs, colds and the flu can bring on more symptoms and attacks. The Asthma Foundation Victoria has provided the following information for asthma suffers:

  • The common cold is caused by a virus and it is important to try not to cough and sneeze near other people, and to wash hands properly to prevent passing on the infection. The flu is different to the common cold and can be a much more serious viral infection.
  • People with asthma are recommended to have an annual influenza vaccination (the flu shot). Preventing the flu protects people with asthma, as those with asthma are often unwell for longer and have a much harder time recovering from the flu.
  • Make sure your child’s asthma is well-controlled; this will help them to bounce back quicker from a cough or cold and will help prevent asthma attacks when they are unwell.
  • Some medications and herbal remedies that we use for colds and flu can make asthma worse. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about any concerns you may have.
  • Antibiotics are not normally prescribed for the common cold, or influenza, as these medications will not help a cold get better. Effective medications may include paracetamol and decongestants; however seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist before purchasing them for your child.
  • Suggested remedies for the flu and the common cold are: rest, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water, staying away from cigarette smoke, using steam inhalation, gargling with salty water for a sore throat and seeking medical advice if concerned at any time.

For more information on the common cold, medications and references used in this article please see the Better Health Channel (State Government of Victoria) – www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au and the NPS website – www.nps.org.au.
Contact The Asthma Foundation of Victoria on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) or www.asthma.org.au.

Natural Disasters and Children

Natural disasters can be a cause of major trauma to children as well as adults. Research on children who have been directly affected by natural disasters shows that some children experience emotional distress for a long time after the event. Some children who are distressed don’t share this with their parents as they don’t want to worry them, so it is important for parents and carers to be aware of other ways that children may show their feelings. Read more in this article “Natural Disasters and Children: Information for Parents and Early Childhood Professionals“.

Asthma, Coughs and Colds: Information for Parents and Carers

This information is provided by the Asthma Foundation of Victoria

The common cold, caused by an upper respiratory tract infection, is one of the most common illnesses for children and adults in Australia. Colds are more common in winter months as people spend more time indoors, in close contact, and can be more likely to pass on viruses that cause the common cold.

Colds can be a trigger for asthma, and asthma management can become more difficult for children and teenagers attending school if they have a cough or a cold. Ensure your child reduces the risk of passing on coughs and colds by avoiding coughing or sneezing on, or near other people and that they wash their hands appropriately after blowing their nose or handling used
tissues. Coughing or sneezing onto the inside of their elbow instead of their hands can also prevent the transmission of infections. If your child is unwell, it is recommended that they stay home and rest to reduce the chance of spreading infections and to give them a better chance to recover quickly.
While there is no known cure for the common cold, symptoms such as headache, cough and runny nose can be managed, and children with asthma are advised to see their doctor before using any medication, or herbal and natural remedies, as these may react with their asthma medications. Many cold and flu medications available over the counter are not suitable for children and teenagers, and some medications may also trigger asthma symptoms, it is best to avoid these unless recommended by your doctor.
People with asthma should avoid the following medications if possible:
• Aspirin
• Ibuprofen/Naproxen (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications)
• Beta blockers tablets and eye drops (used for high blood pressure and glaucoma)
• ACE inhibitors (used to control blood pressure)
Saline drops and nasal sprays may help relieve blocked sinuses, and gargling with salty water may help relieve a sore throat.
If cold symptoms become more severe, parents and carers are encouraged to consult their doctor as soon as possible for advice.
Nasal sprays should not be shared between people as this may transmit infections and viruses.
It is also highly recommended that in the lead-up to winter, people with asthma ask make use of influenza (flu shot) vaccinations.
For more information on the common cold, medications and references used in this article please see the Better Health Channel
(State Government of Victoria) – www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au and the NPS website – www.nps.org.au.
For further information, please contact the Asthma Foundation of Victoria on 1800 645 130 or email schools@asthma.org.au

Asthma and School Holidays – Tips for Travel
When travelling it is important to be aware that different locations and environments may harbour triggers for asthma, particularly new triggers that you or your child may not have come into contact with before.
• Even if asthma is mild or has not occurred for some time, travel to a new destination can often bring about asthma symptoms
• People with asthma should always carry reliever medication and a spacer with them when they travel to ensure they can treat asthma symptoms quickly if they occur
• It is important that people with asthma take enough medication to last for the trip, and have repeat prescriptions with them if they expect to run out during the trip
• People with asthma should have a review with their doctor and update their Asthma Action Plan prior to the trip, so that a clear guide is available on what to do if asthma symptoms or an asthma attack occurs while on holiday
• Ensure that travel insurance adequately covers medical costs and needs while on holiday. Some policies may not cover for asthma treatment if a recent asthma emergency has occurred. Be sure to read the fine print or ask the insurance provider about their asthma coverage
For further information, please contact the Asthma Foundation of Victoria on 1800 645 130 or email schools@asthma.org.au