School Nurse offers advice for cold and flu season

Christie El-Shishini, MSN, CPNP-PC, serves as the full-time nurse for Saint Henry School (6401 Harding Pike, Nashville). Most of what she encounters are ailments like headache, congestion, stomachaches and discomfort from an injury. Each day, she is also responsible for administering care to students with specific medical diagnoses, such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, asthma, severe allergies, seizure disorders, and ADHD.

Full-time school nurses are rare these days. Christie’s role functions as a liaison between school personnel, health care professionals, families and the community, so there is frequent communication with parents, referrals to physicians and supervision of individualized health care plans for many students. In addition, she ensures mandated health screenings have been completed, verifies the completion of immunizations, and promotes a healthy school environment. There are, however, certain limitations of the role. Assessment and care must be within the scope of professional nursing practice. There are mandatory forms that must be completed for students to receive medications and certain prescribed nursing care in the school clinic. As the case manager for students, the school nurse is charged with the task to ensure that there is adequate communication and collaboration among the family, physicians and providers of community resources.

With the pending cold and flu season, we had the opportunity to catch up with her recently and she offers some great advice for parents and children, but most of her advice is adaptable even in office settings.

What can you tell us about the flu strain this year?
The center for Disease Control (CDC) is an important reference when seeking information about the flu. Getting an annual flu vaccine is an important step in protecting yourself and your family from the flu virus. It is not possible to predict what the flu season will be like this year. Although the flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of season vary with each year and specific locations.

What risks are associated with flu?
Certain populations are at greatest risks for complications from the flu virus. Children younger than five years of age and adults over age 65 are in a higher risk group. Also at increased risk are pregnant women, people who live in long-term care facilities, people with chronic diseases, and anyone with a weakened immune system. The flu virus can sometimes weaken the lungs, allowing bacterial infection to develop. This can lead to complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis and sinusitis.

Since flu often begins with vague symptoms that are also found in common colds, stomach viruses, and pneumonia, are there things parents/volunteers/educators can look for early-on to determine if they need to seek professional medical attention?
Flu complications in children are a definite risk. There are certain symptoms that would serve as warning signs that a child could be developing complications from the flu. Some of these include: high fever, fast breathing or increased work of breathing, confusion, listlessness, nausea and vomiting. If there is concern that your child has any sign or symptom of a flu complication, they should seek medical attention right away.

If the child is diagnosed with flu, what are some things to help make the child more comfortable during treatment? Are there home remedies to help break the fever? (Note: this is assuming that they are also on a prescription at this point, so these are supportive measures of a treatment plan, not in lieu of)
If diagnosed with the flu, there are actions that can be taken to ease the symptoms: take over-the-counter medication (aspirin should not be given without physician approval for children below 16 years of age), drink a lot of fluids, and get plenty of rest.

Give us your top six preventive measures to help children survive the cold and flu season:

  1. Vaccinate your child annually with the flu vaccine – the CDC recommends the flu shot as the best way to protect yourself and family from the flu virus
  2. Hand washing, frequently and correctly – Use soap and warm water when possible, hand gels can be used if necessary
  3. Clean shared surfaces often –this includes kitchen counters, bathrooms, phones, tv remotes, computer keypads, door handles, sink and refrigerator handles.
  4. Get out of the habit of touching your eyes, nose and mouth whenever possible – your hands will spread the germs you have come in contact with that may be contaminated with the flu.
  5. Eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest. This is a good tip for helping to ensure your health throughout the entire year, but is especially important during flu season.
  6. Making good choices – if you know there is someone in the family not feeling well, try to keep them away from other people who are healthy (examples: no sibling play dates or friend get-togethers when someone in the group/household is not feeling well).

Click here for more information about Saint Henry School.


Newest community tradition: Taste of West Nashville

What a night! A great selection of food, fun auction items, great people, coming together at The Reserve at Fat Bottom Brewery to benefit a place that gives some of our neighbors the dare to dream again. As the inaugural Taste of West Nashville wraps, we’re calling this one heckuva success! Fourteen restaurants, Fat Bottom brews and perfect weather delivered a lovely evening. Hearts and tummies are full. Congratulations to West Nashville Dream Center—this event was a hit!

Catch a glimpse of some of the ways the West Nashville Dream Center is helping our community . . . oh, and there’s the goat. They. Have. A. Goat.


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Fat Bottom Opens, Special Offer for Our Readers


After much anticipation, Fat Bottom Brewery opens today in The Nations neighborhood! If you visited their East Nashville location, this concept is completely different (to confirm: the concept may be different, the beer is still delish!).

Fat Bottom 2.0 features a pet-friendly patio/courtyard, ready for live music and cornhole; The Hop Yard Restaurant, which offers a full menu; an upstairs lounge that overlooks the brewery and has outside balcony seating; and finally, The Reserve, a gorgeous event space that doubles during pleasant weather by rolling up the giant doors that open into the courtyard.

What’s particularly lovely about this project is the amount of preservation that went into it; they preserved where they could and re-purposed when they couldn’t (those trellises in the courtyard are actually old window frames from the original building).

“Everyone here at Fat Bottom is so excited to finally open our doors to the neighborhood!” says owner Ben Bredesen. “We are looking forward to meeting our neighbors and showing all of Nashville why we chose to move to the Nations.”

Open Monday–Thursday from 4:00 p.m.–midnight, Saturdays from 10:00 a.m.–midnight, and Sundays from 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.

And 372WN readers receive a special discount! See page 59 in our February issue for details.

Chapter 1: We are born*.


You’ll find us in 100 locations throughout West Nashville or check out our digital edition right here. A lot of talented West Nashvillians contributed some excellent work to make this happen. And please, support the advertisers who support this community magazine; let ’em know how much we appreciate them!

We’ll be back on the blog periodically, and our next issue hits in February.

(*Heartfelt apologies to Mr. Dickens and our obvious rip-off of his opening line in David Copperfield.)



Files are at the printer, proofs have been approved.
Distribution route is in place.
Racks and signs have arrived, awaiting delivery to their destinations.
Now, we wait.

It won’t be long. As wild as the last two years, two months, two weeks, even the past two days have been, we’ve learned that timing is everything. All of the stops and stalls we’ve encountered have later proven to be purposeful and made things better. We may not like it at the time, we may not understand why, but it’s always yielded something better.

So we wait, excited, and trusting that the moment our inaugural issue drops is the moment that was intended.