If your child takes a prescription drug on an ongoing basis, back-to-school time probably means more to your family than just new pencils and backpacks. It means a new routine and a new plan for managing your child’s daily doses of medication.
Today’s school districts and school nurses have their hands full. In addition to handling every day sickness and minor injuries, they also help students to manage severe allergies, asthma, and other chronic conditions, such as diabetes. To keep all students as safe as possible, school administrators create strict policies governing how medications are to be labeled, handled, and distributed while on school grounds.
Here are three tips that will make sending medication to school a little easier:
1. Start early
If you think it takes time to find your eight-year-old new sneakers, just wait until you need to coordinate her asthma medication with the school nurse. By mid-summer, be sure to obtain your school district’s policy for the administration of medication and read it in detail. Waiting until the last minute may mean that you don’t have time to obtain the required paperwork from your pediatrician or pharmacy.
2. Ask your pharmacy for help
Most schools require written authorization from your child's doctor, as well as parental written consent for all prescription and non-prescription medications given in a school setting. Most schools also require all medication to be brought to school in the original labeled container prepared by the pharmacy, doctor, or pharmaceutical company (i.e., no envelopes, foil, or baggies). Typically, the label should include the following:
The easiest way to manage this is to coordinate with your child’s doctor and your prescribing pharmacy. They can work together to make sure you have all the containers and prescription details you need. Often it is as simple as making sure you have two labeled bottles – one for at home and one for school, with copies of the prescription for each.
3. Educate your child
To the best of their ability, educate your child about his or her medication. Ideally, they should understand why they need it, what it looks like, how they take it, and how often/when they need to take it. School nurses often have to manage hundreds of different medications for students. Making sure your child at least knows what their medication looks like will go a long way towards preventing dosing errors and mix-ups.
Before you head to the pharmacy for your back-to-school prep, download the free FamilyWize app or get the Free FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card to start saving money on your prescription drugs right away.
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