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Important Health Updates

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Pubic Health (MA DPH) periodically issue Health Advisories.  Advisories are updated as needed and will be posted here when available.

Current Health Advisories as of 03/05/2018


Influenza/FluView Activity Update

The CDC reports that influenza activity continues to decrease in the latest FluView report.  However, it remains high across much of the United States. Influenza-like illness (ILI) dropped as well and is now similar to ILI observed at the peak of last season. Current data indicate that the 2017-2018 flu season peaked in early February (during weeks 5 and 6) and is now on the decline, however 45 states plus Puerto Rico continue to report widespread flu activity, and 32 states plus New York City and the District of Columbia continue to experience high ILI activity. The overall hospitalization rate and all age-specific hospitalization rates, with the exception of children 5-17 years, are now higher than the end-of-season hospitalization rates for 2014-2015; a high severity, H3N2-predominant season. The hospitalization rate for children 5-17 is similar to that of 2014-2015. CDC also reported an additional 17 flu-related pediatric deaths during week 8, bringing the total number of flu-related pediatric deaths reported this season to 114. Flu activity is likely to remain elevated for several more weeks.

CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for all persons 6 months of age and older as flu viruses are likely to continue circulating for weeks

Hand Sanitizer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new warning to parents and caregivers to be aware of children drinking hand sanitizers — sometimes on purpose.  The caution comes with a new CDC report released March 3 2017 that found 70,669 cases of children younger than 12 exposed to sanitizer poisoning from 2011 to 2014.  About 90 percent of those exposures happened among children younger than 5, and most of them drank hand sanitizers made with alcohol.

Very few of the cases reported across the country to the National Poison Data System involved serious injury. But both alcoholic and non-alcoholic sanitizers can cause adverse effects.  Recent reports have identified serious consequences, including apnea (temporary cessation of breathing, especially during sleep), acidosis (excessive accumulation of acid in body tissues or fluids), and coma in young children who swallowed alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  The CDC advises caregivers and health care providers to watch for improper use among children.  Poison control centers warned parents last year that a growing number of children were getting drunk by drinking alcohol-based hand sanitizers - and showing up in emergency rooms.  They advised parents to be  alert to their children carrying large bottles of sanitizer in their backpacks or purses.

You can access the full report here:

Opioid Abuse

The MA DPH, in compliance with recent legislation, requires individuals involved in all 6th-12th grade students extracurricular athletic life receive educational materials on the dangers of opioid use and misuse.  The educational materials, in written form, must be distributed to students involved in an extracurricular athletic activity prior to the beginning of their athletic seasons.  MA DPH developed four fact sheets for the extracurricular sports community on prescription opioid misuse prevention. To review the notice from the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health and the four fact sheets on opioid misuse, click on the titles below.

Notice from the Commissioner
Opioid Misuse: Four Fact Sheets

The Plymouth School Nurses have developed the following brochure that outlines available resources for those suffering from substance abuse:

Substance Abuse



Last Updated: March 5, 2018

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