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With the new school year under way, it is important for school nurses, other clinicians who treat children, and educators to be aware of a poorly recognized debilitating illness that can affect adolescents and children and have an impact on their academic and social functioning. This illness is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a complex illness that severely affects functioning and quality of life. CFS is often thought of as a problem in adults, but it also affects adolescents and, less frequently, children. CFS remains poorly understood by healthcare professionals, and the symptoms in children and adolescents may be misinterpreted as depression or school avoidance.
In adolescents, CFS is more likely to develop after an acute, flu-like illness or injury, but gradual onset of illness may occur. Symptoms of CFS in adolescents are similar to those in adults: debilitating mental and physical fatigue resulting in a significant reduction in activity, sleep problems (such as unrefreshing sleep and a need to sleep more during the day), marked worsening of symptoms after physical or mental exertion, muscle and/or joint pain without redness or swelling, headaches, and impaired memory or concentration. Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) or orthostatic instability is frequently experienced by children and adolescents with CFS. Sore throat and tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes are also common symptoms in pediatric CFS.
Diagnosing CFS requires ruling out other treatable conditions that could be causing the symptoms. In adolescents, diagnosis is also compounded by the process of puberty, a time of hormonal fluctuation and social transition from childhood to adulthood that can contribute to problems with sleep and social adjustment. Children may have difficulty describing their symptoms.
It is most important to diagnose CFS in adolescents and children to prevent or mitigate the effects of missed school and missed opportunities for socialization. When school nurses recognize and understand the impact of CFS, they can serve as effective advocates to mobilize resources to support the child or adolescent to maximize the student’s academic and social development. School absence as a result of illness is best addressed with the school, parents, and physicians as partners. Adolescence is a critical time in human development that influences the individual’s adult life, and friends and socialization are particularly important during this life period. Fortunately, recovery from CFS is more common in adolescents than in adults; however, this does not occur in everyone, and long-term follow-up and adjustments are often needed.
Why it’s Important that Obama Wins
I want to remind people especially those suffering from ME/CFS, HOW IMPORTANT IT IS that Obama wins the election tomorrow.
Hopefully you know the story of how Courtney Miller asked the President last year in Reno to help her husband Bob Miller (who suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.)
Here is the video of Courtney asking the President for help:
About a year later the President responded to Courtney Miller’s request.
Here is a link to that letter: http://phoenixrising.me/wp-content/uploads/President-Obama-Letter-on-CFS.pdf
Do you see how huge this is? I’m not very good at explaining things, but Obama cares about us. He cares about the funding of this terrible disease. He even refer to CFS as Myagic Encephalomyelitis in his letter! That in itself is huge! It’s a step in getting the name changed! ProHealth’s Rich Carson explaining the importance very well in his letter to the ME/CFS patient.
Courtney Miller’s emotional plea to the president opened the door to change and resulted in two things that ME/CFS patients have never had: respect and validation. President Obama not only took the time to study ME/CFS thoroughly, he proved it by referring to the disease as both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, showing that the highest official in the nation knows that CFS and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis are indeed the same disease.
The President responded by asking the nation’s top health officials to look carefully at ME/CFS to see if the government can do more. And he still wants more feedback. Because of this, patients have the opportunity to be heard by the President of the United States about the disease that has cost us so dearly. We are finally looking at a golden opportunity to right two monstrous wrongs at the same time: to get fair funding, and to change the trivializing, degrading name Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to the medical name that has been used for 60 years in more than 50 countries - Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. It is time for the hurtful, humiliating ‘fatigue’ label disappeared forever.
There you go people! Vote Obama tomorrow if you want to see more funding in the CFS community! I know I’m voting for him!
Chase Community Giving: VOTE FOR ME/CFS
Hey guys! Make sure you vote for the ME/CFS charities out there! There’s a lot of money that can be raised if you all vote, and it’s actually really super easy to do so. Reblog this to let other people know!
The Chase Community Giving contest has a lot of money ($5 million) to give as grants to the 196 charities in their eligible nominated organizations list that get the most Facebook member votes by Tuesday, September 18.
If you are a registered Facebook member you can vote for two of the listed charities. (Chase customers get two more votes.)
And if you share a link to a charity by clicking a button (Like, Tweet, Send or Copy) - and by doing that get someone else to vote - you will earn a bonus vote you can use for any organization you choose; even one you have already voted for.
TO GET STARTED, go to the contest Facebook page
• Click “allow application” so that you can vote,
• And search for organizations either by typing key words in the search box (e.g., fibromyalgia or ME/CFS) or scrolling down to browse the alphabetical listing or listing by category.
At this writing, two organizations advocating for people with neuro-immune illnesses are in the top 196 – the Neuro Immune Disease Alliance (NIDA) with 1464 votes and Phoenix Rising an NEID Corporation with 729 votes.
To find the list of the top 196 ranked by current number of votes, click on “Leaderboard” in the blue menu bar at the top of the Chase Giving page.
QUESTIONS/PROBLEMS with voting? Email email@example.com