Chronic health conditions in school children

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ALL CHILDREN at some time or another have short term medical needs.

This may be for example short term medication such as a course of antibiotics. There are, however, children who suffer from long-term health conditions, such as asthma or diabetes.

It is essential that their schools are informed of these conditions and the medication the children take, and also know how to handle an emergency situation.

It is important to remember that children with medical needs, like diabetes, asthma, epilepsy and allergy, have the same rights of admission to schools as any other child, regardless of needing some extra support form teachers and school staff.

Nevertheless, there are some long-term health conditions that call for a school that is specially equipped to ensure the child’s safety.

You must always contact you child’s school to discuss how the situation will be managed.

Your family doctor will advise you on the best way to inform the school and help decide the arrangements that must be made by the school, such as storing and administering medicines. Upon informing the school, you must include:

• Details of medicines and their proper administration.

• Possible side effects.

• Emergency situations: what to do and what not to do.

• Special requirements (dietary needs).

• How often your child will be absent form school.

All in all, if the child’s condition can be correctly managed with minimal involvement from the school, this will be easier for you and the school. However, the school should have policies that determine how it manages medicines and long-term medical conditions.

Staff members administering medicines ought to be fully trained, and the school must have an emergency contact number. Also, your school should help your child participate in physical activities and school trips whenever possible.

It is vital your child should not feel left out due to their condition. They should feel like any other child, with the same opportunities as their friends and classmates.

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