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Kids Health Panui

This e-newsletter has information about child/tamariki health issues for Early Childhood Education Services (ECE Services) staff across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts.  This newsletter is sent once per term.  If you would like to subscribe, fill in your details here.

6 March 2017

Kids Health Panui

This edition covers glo boxes for hand hygiene, the rise in local whooping cough cases, focus on 'Keeping the bugs at bay' in a Rotorua ECE centre, and the World Oral Health Day challenge.

Glo boxes help educate on hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways of reducing the transmission of a variety of diseases including colds and influenza, gastro infections (tummy bugs) and skin infections.  Toi Te Ora - Public Health Service (Toi Te Ora) has Glo boxes that ECE centres can borrow to deliver hand hygiene education. The Glo boxes provide a visual, interactive way to help children learn the importance of hand hygiene. The viewing goggles on the sides of the box let people look through and see the parts missed during hand washing. If any part of the hand glows under the UV lights in the box, then it is still dirty.

Lucy (left) peers into the Glo box to look at Elizabeth’s hands

Hands glowing under the UV lights in the Glo box

For effective hand hygiene:

  • wash hands thoroughly with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds;

  • dry hands with a clean, dry towel or paper towel for 20 seconds.

Encourage frequent hand washing and drying for everyone, especially:

  • before eating and preparing food;

  • after using the bathroom;

  • after touching animals;

  • after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;

  • after being outside (playing, gardening, walking the dog).

If your centre would like to borrow a Glo box to deliver hand hygiene education please phone 0800 221 555 for further information.

Rise in whooping cough cases

Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) notifications rose across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes Districts last year, and already in 2017 we have seen young children admitted to hospital.

What is whooping cough?
Whooping cough is an infectious disease caused by bacteria and is spread through the community by coughing and sneezing, in the same way as colds and influenza. Young children, especially babies under six months, can become very ill from whooping cough.  Older children and adults get whooping cough too, which if not diagnosed and treated, may spread to young children.

What are the symptoms?
Whooping cough starts with a runny nose and dry cough. The cough gets worse over the next few weeks, often developing into very long coughing attacks. In babies and children these coughing attacks may end with a ‘whoop’ sound when breathing in, or end with vomiting.

What should be done to help prevent whooping cough?

  • Adult whooping cough immunisation is recommended for all staff working in ECE Centres. This is a booster dose given every 10 years. Staff can get vaccinated at their GPs, however, there will be a cost for this.

  • Parents should ensure that their children are up to date with their free routine childhood immunisations which include the immunisations against whooping cough.

  • Whooping cough immunisation is also recommended and free for women in the late stages of pregnancy as this helps protect their baby from getting whooping cough when they are very young and before they can get their own routine immunisations starting at 6 weeks of age.

  • Good hand hygiene is always beneficial and it is important to remember to cover your cough and not to cough on, or near, babies.

If anyone has symptoms of whooping cough they should stay away from the ECE Centre and see their doctor for assessment and advice.

If a child or staff member is diagnosed with whooping cough by their GP they need to stay away from the ECE Centre until they have completed five days of antibiotics or three weeks have passed since the cough started if they do not take antibiotics. After either of these, they will no longer be infectious even if they still have an ongoing cough.

For more information on whooping cough and immunisation please visit the Toi Te Ora website:

Rotorua lead the way in 'Keeping Bugs at Bay'

Central Kids in Rotorua signed up for Building Blocks for Under 5s at the beginning of 2016 and went straight to work.  They identified potential areas for improvement and 'Keeping the Bugs at Bay' was chosen as a priority to focus on.  As winter was just around the corner, Carol Gabolinscy, the head teacher and Building Blocks leader, worked together with her staff, children and their parents/whanau to put a plan into action. The following activities were undertaken:

  • 'Keeping the Bugs at Bay' professional learning for staff;

  • creation of a keep the bugs at bay display board for parents and staff;

  • sharing information with staff and parents through staff meetings, informal discussions, noticeboard and the newsletter;

  • staff role modelling good practice e.g. hand hygiene;

  • hygiene procedure review and update with staff and parent/whanau input;

  • investigating and communicating organisational support for annual influenza vaccines for staff;

  • providing basic hand hygiene and other etiquette education to children.

Feedback was obtained from parents/whanau, staff and children and evidence of change was collected through learning stories, newsletter articles, meeting minutes and emails.

An evaluation showed that positive changes had been made and better health outcomes achieved. The kindergarten now has an up to date hygiene procedure. All staff updated their 'Keeping the Bugs at Bay' knowledge and skills and great discussion was generated across the kindergarten community.

Carol said she made a shift in advocating for improved health and wellbeing and in leading the way towards positive change for the benefit of her kindergarten community. Illnesses were reportedly lower that winter season compared to previous years. Several parents and staff also noted how their children were encouraging and role modelling hand hygiene and cough etiquette at home and kindy.

Amandeep and Seerat Kaur role modelling coughing into the elbow

If your ECE Centre has any questions or needs support with what to do to keep the bugs at bay; please contact Bridget Chiwawa, Senior Health Improvement Advisor at

World Oral Health Day Challenge

The World Oral Health Day challenge is open to ECE Services in the Western and Eastern Bay of Plenty.
  If you are interested in joining the challenge please contact:

Western Bay of Plenty:  Norma van Arendonk - or (07) 577 3334

Eastern Bay of Plenty:  Hatea Ruru - or (07) 306 0975 or 027 809 5055

Preschool public health nursing service

For the Bay of Plenty district

In the Bay of Plenty, a Preschool Public Health Nurse is available for ECE services. We work with children and their families on a wide range of health issues such as behavioural, toileting, developmental, social and sleep issues.

You can contact your Preschool Public Health Nurse at Community Health 4 Kids on (07) 577 3383 for the Western Bay or (07) 306 0944 for the Eastern Bay. You can also make a referral directly to

For further information on this Bay of Plenty service please refer to the blue Preschool Public Health Nurse Service Folder in your preschool centre.

For the Lakes district

Registered nurse Amanda Vercoe is happy to take calls and queries regarding health concerns and point preschool teachers in the right direction if she is unable to assist you herself.  The phone number for Amanda (Preschool Public Health Nurse in Rotorua) is 0800 MYNURSE. 

You can also contact the Well Child Nurses at Rotorua and Taupo Plunket, Tipu Ora in Rotorua and Tuwharetoa Health Services in Taupo/Turangi.

The aim of the Kids' Health Panui e-newsletter is to provide information about child/tamariki health issues to staff of Early Childhood Education Services (ECE Services) across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts. This health information can then be passed on to parents and whanau via your own ECE Service newsletters.

Kids' Health Panui is sent to ECE Services once per term and is brought to you by Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service.  For more information about our service visit our website, Facebook or Twitter.

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Last modified: 01 Nov 2016
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