The Daily Quote: A Selfie Side-Effect

“…experts say the rise in selfies, including group shots, has given rise to an unwanted, invisible, louse photo-bombing otherwise perfect pictures.”

As a school nurse, I see lice quite regularly. They are pesky, relentlessly returning critters that give even the bravest Moms the heebee-geebees. Even in the nicest schools, in the wealthiest of families, I sometimes find cases worthy of a third-world country in the heads of the most charmingly-dressed little girls.

Lice do not discriminate.

And now, older siblings & even adults are contracting them. I have come to realize that after a certain age, Parents do not see their children up close. Much less, rummage through their hair.

I have seen lice crawling in a child’s head from 3 feet away.

Lice crawl from one strand of hair to another. They cannot jump or fly. Selfies provide the perfect opportunity for lice to spread quickly from one person to several. Cases have increased, nationwide, among teenagers without siblings, & adults.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention provides information on lice & treatment options, as well as many other diseases & conditions.

Some popular over-the-counter lice treatments are:

Treatment typically involves a shampoo, combing out & picking out nits (eggs) by hand, & repeating the process. It is necessary to search the hair & pull out nits daily, in addition to shampoo & leave-in treatments, as nits can still hatch after treatment.

You can also find professional lice treatment services in your community. Some are located in salons, & some will even come to your home & guarantee their services.

 

The Daily Quote: Sick

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Sick

by Shel Silverstein

“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay,
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash, and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more–that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue–
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke–
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is–what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is—Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

Today is the first day back at my job after a five day Thanksgiving weekend. Today every one is “sick,” and I am the school Nurse. Granted, some of the children I am seeing are genuinely ill; hiding diarrhea accidents beneath jackets tied around their waists, or green-faced with nausea, or sweaty, pale, & coughing up buckets of mucus.

Mostly, though, everyone is “sick.” I like to call it “I-can’t-itis.” Sometimes it’s more aptly named, “I-have-a-report-due-today-itis,” or a severe case of “Monday.”

I see it every Monday, especially after a long weekend, & fondly recall this poem by Shel Silverstein. Here’s to hoping everyone’s better by Saturday.

Make it a great week. 🙂

The Daily Quote: Opportunity, Being Sexy, & Living Life

I don’t recall what my family & I were doing on the evening of August 11, 2013. We may have been having a movie night on the sofa, or an evening bike ride through the neighborhood. We might have been swimming & enjoying a summer cook out. Little did I know that a celebrity was on stage at an award show dropping some serious knowledge on kids all over the nation. Advice that I had yet to put into words for my 4 & 7 year olds. It was profound advice, even for me, at the age of 33.

 After revealing that his real name is ‘Chris,’ he told the audience that he had learned a lot of important things back when he was ‘Chris.’ Here is what he said:
“I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work.  When I was 13 I had my first job with my dad carrying shingles up to the roof.  And then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant.  And then I got a job in a grocery store deli.  And then I got a job in a factory sweeping cheerio dust off the ground.  And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than.  I was always just lucky to have a job.  And every job I had was a steppingstone to my next job, and I never quit my job until I had my next job.  And so opportunities look a lot like work.”

“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful. And being generous. Everything else is crap! I promise you! It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it.”

“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is and that your life is to live your life inside the world and try not to get in too much trouble and maybe get an education and get a job and make some money and have a family. But life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing and that is that everything around us that we call life was made up by people that are no smarter than you.”

“And you can build your own things.  You can build your own life that other people can live in.  So build a life.  Don’t live one, build one.  Find your opportunities, and always be sexy.”

The Daily Quote: Snort, Sniffle, Sneeze…No Antibiotics, Please!

It’s that time again – cold & flu season!

As a school nurse, I treat a variety of illnesses & injuries on a daily basis. My door has been a turnstile of ick, sick, & yuck lately. Seasonal allergies, indoor allergies, & cold & flu viruses are rearing their ugly heads…all at once!

My students (and teachers) are miserable. And to tell you the truth…so am I. Sneezing. Sniffling. Runny noses, sinus pressure & headaches, ear aches, coughing, mucus, wheezing, rumbly tummies, chills & fevers, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea…the list goes on.

One important fact remains…

Any and/or ALL of these symptoms can be caused by viruses. Why is that so important?

Because antibiotics do NOT work on viruses.

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Examples of illnesses caused by viruses are:

  • Influenza (the flu)
  • Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  • RSV
  • Croup
  • Chickenpox
  • Most rashes
  • Many coughs

Antibiotics do not kill viruses. Treating these illnesses with antibiotics is ineffective & leads to antibiotic resistance. Some viruses, like the flu, pneumonia, & chickenpox can be prevented by getting vaccines.

Some illnesses that do require antibiotic treatment include:

  • Strep throat
  • Pneumonia
  • Many ear infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sinus infections

How do we treat viruses, if we can’t kill them with antibiotics???

We treat the symptoms while the virus runs its course.

  • Rest – your body may need extra sleep and/or naps while it is fighting an infection.
  • Hydrate – drink plenty of fluids (non-sugary/non-caffeinated).
  • Treat fever, pain, and/or inflammation – Medications like Ibuprofen can treat all 3 of these symptoms. Read packaging & instructions carefully, as some over the counter medications contain more than one medicine.
  • Treat cough & mucus – a different cough medicine should be used for productive cough, to help clear mucus from the airways. A cool-mist humidifier will also help keep mucus thin & soothe irritated nasal passages & throat.

Click here for different types of cough medications & when to use what

  • Treat nausea/vomiting/diarrhea – Replenish electrolytes with Pedialyte or a similar electrolyte solution. Drink water & other clear liquids. Eat light until your stomach feels right. 
  • For the flu, your doctor may recommend you start taking Tamiflu as a treatment, to possibly lessen symptoms & shorten the course of the virus.
  • Non-medicinal treatments – There are a variety of ways to alleviate symptoms that involve no medication at all.
    • Warm compresses – for ear pain, stiff neck, head ache, & body aches
    • Warm soak – for body aches
    • Salt water gargle – for sore throat
    • Ginger root tea (honey optional) – for sore throat, cold, flu, & inflammation
    • Turmeric milk tea – calming, creamy, warm drink, thought to be effective in treating cold & flu symptoms. Turmeric & the flu.

 

Here’s a cute video released by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) just for fun:

The Daily Quote: Thoughts and Children

m“Every thought we think is creating our future.” – Louise Hay

To apply this quote to ourselves promotes positive thinking & positive growth.

To apply this quote to our children brings forth the profound realization that the thoughts & feelings we induce in them now, from the way we speak to them & look at them, to the attention we do or do not pay them, and the confidence or shame we instill in them, are laying the foundation for their future way of thinking. Ultimately, we are influencing what kind of future they make by the way we are training them to think. One of my favorite poems is by Author, Dorothy Law Nolte, Children Learn What They Live. 

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Children Learn What They Live

If a child lives with criticism,

He learns to condemn

If a child lives with hostility,

He learns to fight

If a child lives with ridicule,

He learns to be shy

If a child lives with shame,

He learns to feel guilty

If a child lives with tolerance,

He learns to be patient

If a child lives with encouragement,

He learns confidence

If a child lives with praise,

He learns to appreciate

If a child lives with fairness,

He learns justice

If a child lives with security,

He learns to have faith

If a child lives with approval,

He learns to like himself

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,

He learns to find love in the world

What a beautiful, empowering thought, as Parents, as teachers, as neighbors, as adults in this world, that we can with merely a glance, a smile, a word, a response…in the tiniest of gestures, have such a significant influence on shaping the thoughts & the future of a child. I can still remember instances when, as a child, something an adult did or said, unbeknownst to them, affected the way I would go on to view myself. Some were good, & others were bad. There are little moments that I still can’t shake, where I was ridiculed or snapped at by a stressed out, busy caregiver, & it affected my self confidence. I can still remember looks that adults gave me that made me feel insecure & stupid. Now, as a Mother, an Aunt, a neighbor, & a school nurse, I am very aware of the affect my actions, expressions, & words have on children, whether I intend to or not. Here is what I have taken from the lessons I have learned:

  1. Always smile at children. In the store, in traffic, coming & going, no matter how busy or stressed you are, smile & admire the fresh, new, beautiful, impressionable creations that God has put in your path. You wouldn’t scowl or roll your eyes at a patch of beautiful flowers, a lovely sunset, or a rainbow. Remember, children are a brand new creation, & any time you encounter them, you are imprinting on them an impression of their own self worth, & the nature of people in their world.
  2. Children are to be seen and heard. Allow them to elaborate. Children are SPONGES! They soak up so much information & ideas, & in order to process all that they are being told & taught, seeing, hearing, & feeling, they need to speak! Think about it. If you went to school & never ever were allowed to speak about what you were learning, & your teacher didn’t talk to you or ask you questions, & you were just expected to absorb everything & then be quiet…there is no way you would have learned! Children need to feel that what they are thinking & what they have to say matters. When they have a thought & we listen, it not only provides validation, it provides reassurance – yes, someone is listening to me. It feels good when you have something to say & you can look over & speak to someone & they listen, nod, and join you in conversation. This also teaches children how to navigate conversation, & with practice they learn the social skills; the give & take of conversation. They can only learn this through Practice.
  3. Children need more Questions than Answers. The conversations are so unbalanced between adults & children. We tell them, we instruct them, we remind them, we teach them. How often do we ask them? And what do we ask them? In middle school, a great source of anxiety (besides the usual adolescent chaos) was the “open-ended” question. This was a question that prompted the student to elaborate on an idea; to explain his/her personal reasoning behind an answer. Growing up in a household where the phrase “children are to be seen & not heard” was said on a near daily basis, I had not been allowed to practice the skills necessary to develop my thoughts & opinions & the ability to express them in an open-ended question or essay. My thoughts & answers were not valued in my home, & therefore, I hadn’t had the opportunity to clearly define what I thought about anything, much less write about it. We need to make it a point to deliberately allow the flow of conversation with children to go in the opposite direction. Ask them questions that allow them to speak their independent opinions & feelings. Ask them what they think of things, how they think something works, & why. This is how they begin to naturally hypothesize about the world around them; to develop ideas, logic & reasoning. And when they have elaborate explanations, listen. Don’t be too busy to spend time listening to a child. Foster confidence in their own ideas & thoughts. That is how they become excellent students, artists, leaders, speakers, & anything else they imagine they can be.

The Daily Quote: Gratitude

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God.

-Thomas Merton

With thoughts of the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, I spotted what I think is an excellent new tradition for my family. We don’t always get pumpkins & when we do, there’s always the question of what to do with them after Halloween is over. Here’s an excellent idea. Each day for the month of November, have each family member add something they are thankful for. At the end of the month, it’s a beautiful reminder of all of the reasons we are grateful & blessed. ❤

Thankful Pumpkin