Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Screen Time for Me Time

Screen Time for Me time

As a busy mother of children aged 6 and 8 and working full time, and, I find that my children spend WAY too much time on their electronic devices.  They each have a tablet and the family video game console and then in the evening they are ALWAYS asking, "Can we watch a family movie?" These devices can be life saving while trying to prepare a meal, or work on a project, or complete some extra work around the house.  Turns out, I am not alone.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation,The average child, aged 8-10 years old, spends about 6 hours with a recreational screen. And, kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 of which are spent watching TV. Over a year, that adds up to 114 full days watching a screen for fun. That’s just the time they spend in front of a screen for entertainment. It doesn’t include the time they spend on the computer or tablet at school for educational purposes or at home for homework.

Turns out, all this screen time has real implications on children. 

 “Taken together, [studies show] internet addiction is associated with structural and functional changes in brain regions involving emotional processing, executive attentiondecision making, and cognitive control.”  --research authors summarizing neuro-imaging findings in internet and gaming addiction (Lin & Zhou et al, 2012) 

Basically, too much time on electronic devices actually changes the brains of children impacting the ability for executive function. 

Also, screen time is sedentary time, placing children at risk for a host of other health implications.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC 

What Can Be Done

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends setting consistent limits for children aged 6-18 on the amount of time and place they get to have screen time. The APA suggest parents involve children in coming up with screen time rules the family can stick to.
For example, 
1. Keep smartphones, tablets and TVs out of bedrooms, 
2. No electronics at the dinner table. 
3. Find other things to do as a family – cook a meal together, play a board game or take a walk around the neighborhood.
4. When engaging screens for family fun, find interactive alternatives.  For example, dance to music or solve mysteries together.

For additional recommendations and linked peer reviewed articles, check out this resource:

For more information see the CDC CDC screen time guidelines and the APA guidelines APA screen time guidelines

Monday, November 26, 2018


Winter Weather is HERE!!

Image result for coldWith winter weather, comes the danger of hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia is most common in severely cold temperatures but as a little know fact, hypothermia can also occur at cool temperatures, or temperatures above 40 degrees, when an individual becomes wet from sweat, or playing in the snow.  At Yarmouth Elementary School, students go outside to play when the REAL FEEL temperature is above 10 degrees.  With this in mind, students should come to school prepared to play outside most days.  Please send hats mittens and boots to school for recess, and snow pants if students plan to play in the snow, all winter long.  Don't forget to send a change of shoes for inside play and SNEAKERS for PE class. A change of clothes, kept in their backpack, is also a very good idea with the playground very wet. 

Together, we can keep the children at YES safe and warm this winter!

Signs of Hypothermia include:
Image result for cold
  • shivering, exhaustion                                                         
  • confusion, fumbling hands
  • memory loss, slurred speech drowsiness
  • shivering, exhaustion
  • confusion, fumbling hands

Treatment, seek medical attention if temperature is below 95 degrees. 
    Image result for cold
  • Get out of the cold.
  • Remove all wet clothing.
  • Warm the person up - center of the body first (chest abdomen and head) followed by limbs
  • Warm drinks can be helpful increase body temperature.
  • After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible.  


Frostbite is an injury caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures and mostly affects the cheeks, chin, nose, fingers, and toes.

Signs of frostbite include:

  • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
  • skin that feels unusually firm or waxy                  
  • numbness

At the first sign of redness or pain in skin, get out of cold, or apply protective clothing

If symptoms of frostbite are present, seek medical attention right away!!

Prevent Hypothermia and Frostbite

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." -Benjamin Franklin

- Stay inside when temperatures are extremely cold
- Wear a weather resistant jacket
- Wear a hat and scarf
- Wear mittens 
- Wear waterproof boots 
- If playing in the snow, wear snow pants

All information recommended by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention and more information can be obtained on their website at CDC website on extreme weather

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Lice Prevention

Hello Yarmouth Elementary School Families,

With colder weather brings thoughts of warm turkey dinners, hot soups, bundling in winter jackets, prepping snowblowers and tuning winter sports equipment.  

Cold weather is also the time when lice appears in school settings

Anyone can get lice...mainly from direct head-to-head contact but also from sharing hats, brushes and other personal items. Lice are no cause for shame and no reflection on the hygiene of your home, but are definitely a nuisance!

Please complete lice checks on children with itchy heads, or known exposure to lice, (spending time with friends family or classmates with a known case of lice) and let Alison Thomson, School Nurse at Yarmouth Elementary School, know if your child has nits or lice. Together we can keep the cases to a minimum at YES.

Tips for Prevention:

1. DO NOT SHARE Hats, brushes, scarves or personal items

2. AVOID HEAD to HEAD contact, teach children to hug with heads apart and to be mindful of where their heads are while getting in lockers and reading groups, etc.

3. Keep long hair pulled up tight on head

4. DO not lie on beds, carpets, stuffed animals or pillows that have been in contact with an infested individual

5. Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.

Nits in hair                                                                       Adult lice

How to Complete a Head Check

1. Find a well lit spot and include entertainment for your child

2. Use a magnifying glass if you have one

3. Start at the nape of the neck and and separate hair ¼ inch at a time looking closely at each section for lice and nits

4. Be sure to examine the whole head, and treat appropriately per CDC guidelines if live lice or active nits are found

For more information please reference the CDC https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/

And for details on treatment, please reference a blog written last year around this time here:   https://yarmouthelementaryschoolnurse.blogspot.com/2017/10/lice-lice-lice.html

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Halloween Safety

With Halloween approaching, Tricks and Treats are on all of our minds at Yarmouth Elementary School, but SAFETY should also be at the forefront of our thoughts. 


Here are some TRICKS from the CDC to stay Safe this season when you're out collecting goodies.  

Obtained from https://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/index.htm on October 10, 2018. 

Going trick-or-treating?

alphabet letter s
Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
alphabet letter a
Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
alphabet letter f
Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
alphabet letter e
Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
alphabet letter h
Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don’t run from house to house.
alphabet letter a
Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
alphabet letter l
Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.
alphabet letter l
Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
alphabet letter o
Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
alphabet letter w
Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
alphabet letter e
Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
alphabet letter e
Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
alphabet letter n
Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Cold and Flu Season Has Arrived

Prevention is very important to stay healthy this season.

The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated
Image result for VNA home health and hospice logo   
The Yarmouth School Department Flu Clinics will be here the second week of October.  Yarmouth Elementary School will Have our Clinic DURING SCHOOL HOURS on October 10th in collaboration with VNA Home Health and Hospice

Please fill out the linked permission form completely, including insurance information in order for your student to receive their vaccination

Flu Vaccine Permission form  Flu Vaccine Information Sheet

FluMist Information Sheet

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to staying healthy this flu season can be found here:  CDC information on influenza
Image result for cold vs flu


Follow these tips and stay healthy this season!!

1. Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2. Stay home when you are sick.

If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

3. Cover your mouth and nose.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4. Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6. Practice other good health habits.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food

Friday, June 1, 2018



        It is Brown Tail Moth Season


                                           Group of Larvae .                              Silk tent around egg sac

                                               Caterpillar                                        Adult Moth

Exposure to the brown tail moth in any portion of its life cycle causes a painful irritating rash, example pictured below.  The red hairs on the brown tail moth cause skin irritation and respiratory problems when inhaled. The rash can last from a few hours to several days or on sensitive individuals it can last for several weeks.  After exposure, Hairs can be removed with duct tape, wash exposed skin with soap and water and change cloths.  Launder cloths and clean washing machine.  A prolonged or severe rash should be seen by a physician. 


Image result for brown tail moth hairs

The caterpillars are active from April to June and become less of a problem over time as rain washes away the molted hairs.  

According to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/insects/browntail_moth_id_winter_nests.htm), brown tail moth egg sacs are present on small twigs and branches over the winter and early spring.  Each egg sac contains approximately 25-400 caterpillars.  If one is discovered take it down by clipping the branch and then soak the nest in soapy water to kill the larvae.  Egg sacs should be removed over the winter months to decrease infestations in the spring.  

Stay healthy everyone!

For more information visit the Maine CDC HERE

And remember, never touch a brown tail moth. 

Monday, April 9, 2018


Tick Season is HERE!!

With warmer weather approaching, people in Southern Maine are itching to get OUTSIDE to enjoy some hiking and biking and yard work.  It may seem too cold for those little guys to come out, but as soon as the snow thaws, ticks come out of hiding.  

         Image result for yard work cartoon                                     Image result for hiking cartoon

May is Lyme Disease awareness month, and this is the perfect time of year to remind our community about tick safety

The Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some amazing resources, I have included the link to the CDC page at the bottom of this page.

Deer Ticks or (Ixodes scapularis) is the only tick known to transmit Lyme disease and it looks like this:
Image result for deer tick                  Related image

Ticks tend to bite humans in the nymph stage (smaller picture) and must be embedded for 24 hours to infect a person with Lyme Disease. 

The other common tick found in Maine is the Dog tick, it looks like this: 

                                             Image result for dog tick

Dog ticks do not cause disease.  The main difference between a dog tick and a deer tick is the coloring.  Do not go by size, they can be the same size or smaller than a deer tick at different stages of its life.  The dog tick will have a white area behind its head or 'racing stripes down it's back.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease:
Early symptoms:
Image result for bulls eye rash-Erythema migrans (bull’s eye rash)
can be found anywhere on body and doesn't have to be where the tick was found
-Muscle and joint pain
-Chills, fever, and headache Swollen lymph nodes

Image result for bell's palsy

Late Symptoms:
-Arthritis with recurrent, brief
attacks of joint swelling
-Lymphocytic meningitis

-Bell’s palsy
-Heart arrhythmias

Prevention is the BEST medicine!!

To prevent a tick bite follow the CDCs No Ticks for Me 4 Step Prevention system:

1. Wear protective clothing
Wear light colors with long sleeves and long pants with socks pulled up over pants and shirts tucked in.  Ticks only crawl up and will reach skin at your neck line and hopefully you will see them before they have a chance to embed.

                                                         Image result for tick protective clothing

2. Use EPA approved repellant
Use repellants containing
DEET, oil of lemon
eucalyptus, IR3535,
picaridin, or permethrin (be sure to only use this one on clothing and wash these clothes separate from others)

                        Image result for EPA approved tick repellent

3. Perform Tick Checks Daily
Focus on the warmest areas of your body and do not forget your head, hair, and ears.  Always shower immediately after hiking or playing in tick infested areas to dislodge ticks that have not latched on yet, and put clothes in the dryer.  (the hot air of the dryer will kill a tick)

                      Image result for tick check

4. Use caution in tick infested areas
Stay on the trail
                 Image result for trail

I Found a Tick: Now What?

- Lyme takes 24 hours to transmit, so remove the tick right away with a tick spoon or tweezers

Image result for tick removal spoon                Image result for tick removal spoon

Pull the tick straight out without applying anything first and call your doctor to see what they recommend.  Do not worry if some of the tick was left behind in the skin, the part of the tick that transmits Lyme Disease is the abdomen.

You can find more information at the Maine CDC website Maine CDC