Backpack? Check. Books? Check. Pencils? Check. Health records? With the school year starting, there's another thing not to forget: back-to-school medical needs.
The first step is to check your child's health records. Get a copy from your pediatrician's office and pass it along to your child's school.
These records will include information on your child's vaccination history and confirmation that your child can participate in physical activity. In addition, these records will contain a list of medications your child takes, as well as any allergies he or she may have.
If you have any questions about what vaccinations your child needs, ask your doctor or pharmacist. The recommended vaccines will depend on your child's age and certain medial conditions.
Next, if your child is going to participate in sports, he or she will need a physical, which can be done at the doctor's office. Make sure to get the sports release form signed and turned in to the school.
Every school is different in its policy on medications. Be sure to ask your child's school nurse about the school policy. This becomes important when your child needs to take a dose of a medication during the day.
Whether it's a dose of your child's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication or an inhaler for exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (also known as exercise-induced asthma), your child and the school nurse should know the plan.
Also, speak with the school nurse about an emergency action plan for potential medical emergencies. This way, the school staff will know what to do in case of an asthma attack, severe allergic reaction or other health emergency.
In most cases, the school should have a supply of your child's medication so school staff can administer it in the event of an emergency.
Cough and Cold Season
The start of the school year also means the start of cough and cold season. Be sure to follow these simple steps to keep your children healthy this fall:
- Wash your hands frequently. Although it's a very simple task, hand-washing is one of the most effective ways to stay healthy in school. Remind your child to frequently wash his or her hands, especially before eating and after using the bathroom, nose blowing or playing outdoors.
- If hand-washing is not possible, hand sanitizer may be useful, especially before eating and after sharing communal objects like pencil sharpeners, water fountains and computers.
- Cover mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Remind your child to cough or sneeze into a tissue. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into the elbow crease. And, of course, remind your child to dispose of the used tissue and clean his or her hands (wash with soap or use hand sanitizer).
- Avoid touching your eyes and mouth. Hands are typically covered in germs. Remind your child to avoid touching his or her eyes or mouth.
- Do not share personal items like food or water bottles.
Don't forget the basics. Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep, exercise and healthy food. These may be basic concepts, but they go a long way.