Posted by Naomi Nessim, August 15, 2017 (last updated on July 23, 2019)
We spoke to Amy Huey, head school nurse at University Park Elementary, to hear her top 5 tips for parents before sending kids back to school.
With back to school around the corner, families across the country are scrambling to finish their back to school physicals, squeeze in those annual school-supply-shopping trips, and enjoy the last of the vacation. Meanwhile, school nurses are preparing for the inevitable flurry of sick and healthy students knocking on that nurse door!
Bumped heads, bruised knees, flying flus and ambiguous allergies are all inevitable, but you have more power than you think to be ahead of, and healthier than, the curve.
Tip 1: Update your immunization records
Are your immunization records compliant with state standards? Use this handy tool to double check
- Submit any updates to your child’s immunization record. If you are new to the school district, schools will require complete records. If you have incoming Kindergarteners, 7th graders or 12th graders, it is very important to communicate with your Provider about immunizations that are required for the grade level. For example, additional TDAP and meningococcal are due for 7th grade compliance, and some 12th grade students will receive addition meningococcal vaccinations as well. If your child is going to college and never received a TDAP booster, he or she should get a single dose before going
- Schedule or plan to schedule your vaccination for flu season. If you are in the Dallas or Houston areas, use Solv to make same day appointments
Tip 2: Double-check medication
- Parent → School: Communicate with your school nurse in advance to acquire the necessary school forms. The daily medication form should be completed and signed by the parent.
- Physician → School: Any Allergy Action Plan, Asthma Action Plan, Self-Carry Authorization for Epi/Inhaler, Diabetes orders, Seizure Action Plan/MD orders need to be updated annually by a Physician.
- Make sure your medication is in a properly labeled container and is not expired.
Tip 3: Keep your eye on the ball
Is your child going to be participating in athletics or need P.E. approval?
- Check with your school if you have any required school forms for athletic participation clearance. Many schools require an athletic questionnaire and physical every school year to allow athletic participation.
- Following any injury with medical intervention please provide a Dr.’s note with their activity restrictions, concussion management plan determined by the provider, or clearance to participate.
- Find out if your school offers an opportunity for EKG/stress testing at a student health fair. Otherwise, many local urgent care clinics do!
Tip 4: It’s okay to stay home
Did you know that getting sick with the flu can actually impact academic performance? Think about it: more missed class = harder time keeping up with the curriculum. It’s okay to stay home and focus on getting better.
- Wellness starts at home. Plan your sleep routine, daily schedule, and at home nutrition to help your child succeed in the classroom. This includes keeping them home on days they are not feeling well.
- Become familiar with your school guidelines for exclusion related to illness. (Fever free for 24 hours, pink eye, lice policy, etc).
- See a doctor quickly. If your regular pediatrician is busy or if you just need a same-day appointment that fits your schedule, Solv has hundreds after hours and weekend pediatric appointment times available to help you.
- Always add the school number and the clinic number to your contact list so you will not miss a call when the nurse needs you most.
Tip 5: Even if it seems like a lot of information, tell the nurse
Update your health information annually with the school or district.
- We want to know if you had a rough year with seasonal allergies, if you have medication for asthma at home, if you had a food allergy exposure, if you are receiving oral immunotherapy treatment, etc. The necessary staff want/need to know about your child to offer care and assistance during the school day.
Back to school is an exciting time for families and the success of the year hinges on the health of your children! The school nurse is an invaluable resource and partner for parents and students alike and we hope these tips help you feel prepared for the coming year.
With school germs aplenty and unavoidable seasonal bugs, sickness may enter the picture. However by being prepared and knowing what to do when you are sick, you can improve and expedite the process. Next time your child is feeling sick or you get that dreaded call from the school nurse requesting an early pick-up, Solv makes it easy to make same day doctors appointments so you can get back to feeling your best.