We wanted to take a moment and emphasize a few health-related tips as we head into cold and flu season, while also sharing information and resources related to an illness currently in the media, Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM).
The Center for Disease Control
(CDC) notes that AFM “is a rare but serious condition” affecting the “nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called gray matter, and the muscles and reflexes in the body become weak.” The likelihood of occurrence is less than one in a million in the United States per year (CDC, 2018). Additional facts and information from the CDC are included on its website.
The Allegheny County Health Department
(ACHD) shared that AFM is not known to be clustered in schools or other gathering places and has not been linked to person-to-person spread. The ACHD does not recommend any particular actions for families other than practicing typical disease prevention measures and habits. Proper hygiene and regular hand-washing are suggested actions throughout the year and are effective in preventing a number of communicable diseases.
You can assist by discussing proper and regular hand-washing techniques, as well as by demonstrating how to sneeze and cough in the inside of their elbow as a way to prevent the spread of illness. We regularly communicate with our School Physician and contacts at ACHD concerning health and wellness and will continue to share any recommendations that surface related to disease prevention and to AFM in particular.
Links to additional information on the CDC and ACHD websites:
Michelle Schonbachler, BSN, RN, CSN
Pine-Richland Health Services Chair & Pine-Richland High School Nurse