Archive for Thursday, February 24, 2005

Sick bug hits Lansing; school nurses cautious

February 24, 2005

The sick bug is making its way through Lansing schools, with reports of colds, flu, strep throat and pneumonia causing absences.

The bug got the attention of school nurses, who sent home notes to parents and placed this note on the front page of the district's Web site (

"There have many cases of Strep throat, stomach flu, and pneumonia within our schools since returning from winter break. This is a reminder to please encourage the students to wash their hands after using a tissue or the restroom. Hand washing is the number one defense against the spread of disease. Having an 'Instant Hand Sanitizer' available will also help. If there are any questions, please call your school nurse. Thank you for your assistance."

Sue Niederhofer, nurse at Lansing Intermediate School, said this year's bug is no worse than in past years - "just the normal cold and flu season" - but that nurses kept seeing the same symptoms over and over and in a short time span.

"We just had a bunch within a two-week period," Niederhofer said.

"Most of it was flu, some strep, but we seem to be over it right now. Our absences were never real, real high. It was just that the group of kids who were out all had similar illnesses," she said.

Lynn Pippen, nurse at Lansing Elementary School, said the illnesses hadn't discriminated by age.

"I think it's the high school on down," she said.

Washing hands often is just one of the tasks the nurses were recommending.

"There's also not sharing drinks or anything like that :not sending your child to school with a fever, and keeping them home if they do have a fever until the fever is broken for at least 24 hours," Pippen said.

The nurses are hopeful the worst of the sick bug is finished.

The high-water mark for absences this year at Lansing Elementary came on Friday, when 53 students were out. On a normal day, that number is closer to 20 students, school officials said.


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