A Note From Your School Nurse
Dear Chesterfield families,
As we “spring ahead” into daylight saving time, I am reminded of the many health awareness initiatives celebrated in March. On the 12th, we will advance our clocks 1 hour forward which marks the perfect time to highlight National Sleep Awareness Week, March 6-13. Most of us know the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, but few of us actually make sleep health a priority. Getting just 1 hour less of sleep nightly affects your daytime functioning. You might not be noticeably sleepy during the day, but the loss of even 1 hour affects your ability to think and respond quickly and compromises your ability to fight infections. As you celebrate National Sleep Awareness week, please consider how blue light affects children and their sleep. Curbing the use of electronic devices before bedtime is challenging, but there truly is a compelling reason to do so. The blue light emitted from many of these screens can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, heighten alertness and reset the body’s internal clock. The end result: sleep-deprived or poorly rested children. Shutting down electronics an hour or two before bedtime is a good rule of thumb.
March also calls for an awareness of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. sustain TBIs every year, leaving everyone at risk. Given the press athletes and concussions receive, it may surprise you to learn that falls are the leading cause of TBI, responsible for half of TBIs among children and most among the elderly. TBI may affect cognitive function (e.g., impaired memory or attention), motor function (e.g., poor coordination or balance, extremity weakness), sensation (e.g., loss of hearing, vision, perception or touch) and/or emotion (e.g., depression, anxiety, aggression, or personality changes). For more information on how to recognize, respond to and minimize the risk of brain injury, visit the CDC’s Heads Up website at https://www.cdc.gov/HeadsUp/
The 3rd week of March calls our attention to another very important health awareness topic: President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 proclamation of National Poison Prevention Week. Poison is not a topic people often talk about, but as the #1 cause of injury-related death in the U.S., they should. The best way to prevent poisoning is to learn about the risks before an emergency. Bring it up anytime: when you are eating dinner with your family, driving the kids to practice, or when speaking to older adults about their medicines.
Finally, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, the NH Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration, the American Cancer Society, the Southern NH Area Health Education Center, the NH State Immunization Program and Deb Hansen, MD for sponsoring and facilitating last month’s screening of Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic! We had a full house and learned so very much. Please watch for future health and wellness opportunities and email me with your topics of interest.
Respectfully yours in sickness & in health,
Traci Fairbanks, RN
If you or someone you know need a little help, please be proactive. Our school may be able to help you find the resources you need. Often families are uncomfortable about seeking help. But not doing may result in a negative impact on the family as a whole. Our staff want to see children happy and healthy for optimal learning and comfort. Please call the school nurse for support at 363-8301.