Health News

Back to School: Tips on staying well

The Southern Ute Health Center is gearing up for back-to-school. We have already had an influx of requests for school and sports physicals, and will be expecting to see a lot of children soon for their immunizations and check-ups. We enjoy seeing all of these children coming to the clinic while they are healthy, and so here are a few tips to help avoid the common illnesses we see with back-to-school season.

Head lice are insects that live near the scalp of an infected person, and lay eggs at the base of the hair shaft. They cause irritation and itching to the scalp, and can lead to skin infections due to scratching of the scalp. They do not spread disease, but are contagious, generally through head-to-head contact with another person who has head lice. Lice do not jump or fly, and only live off of the body for 1-2 days. An infection with head lice is not a reflection of personal hygiene. They cannot live on pets.

To prevent the spread of head lice:

  • Avoid head-to-head contact with other individuals.
  • Do not share clothing, towels, hats, or hair accessories.
  • Avoid contact with items like pillows, couches, blankets, etc., that have recently been in contact with an infected individual.
  • Machine-wash all clothing, bed linens, or other washable items that have been in contact with an infected person within the last 2 days. Use hot water and dry on high heat. Items that cannot be washed should be dry cleaned or placed in a plastic bag for 2 weeks.
  • Vacuum the furniture and floor where the infected person has spent time in the last 2 days.
  • There is no need to use bug sprays or bombs.

To treat head lice, contact the Southern Ute Health Center to make an appointment, or see a walk-in provider. Head lice may be treated without a prescription using lice shampoos available over-the-counter. Be sure to follow package directions, since they may differ from one product to another. Some products will require a repeat application after 7-10 days, since they are not able to kill unhatched lice. With any product, the person treated should be inspected for live lice after 1 week, and retreated if any are found.

Common cold is caused by many viruses that are easily passed from person-to-person through the air, or through respiratory fluid on hands, droplets from coughing/sneezing, or even from contact with shared objects or doorknobs.

Symptoms usually include sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, and/or coughing, and may last 7-10 days. The common cold cannot be treated with antibiotics, since it is caused by virus and not bacteria.

To avoid getting a cold, wash hands with soap and warm water, rubbing for at least 20 seconds. Avoid sharing hand towels with sick people. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, since this is how the virus enters the body. Stay away from people who are sick, when possible. There is no cure for the common cold, but some people find relief with over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. Always follow package directions on medications, including age restrictions.

Call the Southern Ute Health Center Pharmacy (563-4781) with any medication questions you may have. If symptoms do not improve or worsen after 7-10 days, contact the Southern Ute Health Center to make an appointment, or see a walk-in provider.

If your child still needs their physical or immunizations, call 563-4581 with any questions or to schedule an appointment. Be sure to bring any forms with you, filled out with all of the child’s information. This will help to keep the clinic running smoothly and on time.

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