School nurses prepare to give Swine Flu shots to students

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - She bandages boo-boos and tends to their aches and pains. For students at D'Iberville Middle School, Nurse Kathy Fisackerly is likely their first line of defense against illnesses.

Since school started last month, the number of sick students coming in to see her has doubled.

"We have been very busy," Fisackerly said. "At the height of, two weeks ago, I was seeing 60-plus and sending quite a few home throughout the day. We are still seeing a fair number of highly-suspect flu cases."

Fisackerly said some of those cases are Swine Flu.  And it's up to her to make sure everyone is healthy.

"Out of those 600 kids, I got 128 kids with asthma," she said.  "So I need to follow up on those with severe asthma. They are particularly vulnerable to flu season."

As if their work load isn't heavy enough, school nurses are now trying to figure out how to handle their next task: Giving out the newly-approved H1N1 vaccine.

"It's a logistics problem basically, and a tremendous manpower problem," Fisackerly said.  "Each school is different.  Some schools, space becomes a problem.  Where can you put these kids while you're doing them?  And you have to watch them awhile after the vaccine to make sure they don't react to it."

Fisackerly said she has met with state Health Department officials to discuss the role schools will play in giving out the flu shots.  While the details are still being worked out, she is focused on preventing the spread of the virus, so her students can return to the classroom.

State Health Department officials say their doctors and nurses will go into schools to help give the shots.  They're also considering other options, like hiring additional staff to help with the vaccinations or asking doctors' offices to adopt a school.

There will be no cost to students for the shots.

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