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Back to School Tips for Handling Prescription Medications

Many of us will soon be getting our children ready for the upcoming school year. If your child is one of the 6.5 million children in the U.S. being treated for a chronic medical condition such as asthma or diabetes, your planning involves more than new backpacks and glue sticks.

Medication adherence, like so many other good habits, starts at an early age. Making sure children understand the importance of proper therapy now can help put them on the road to healthier choices. If your child uses prescription medications during school hours, here are some tips to help keep them safe and adherent to their therapy:

Know your school’s rules: Who is allowed to administer medication, and who fills in if the person is absent? Is your child allowed to carry the medicine and take it without supervision? What is the policy for field trips?

Provide clear instructions: Prepare a typed list of all medications with warnings and storage requirements. Also, include an action plan that school staff can refer to in an emergency. Make sure your child, teachers and the appropriate school administrator(s) have current copies.

Know how your child will receive the medication: Will they be expected to report to a certain place at a certain time, or be called?

Keep your child informed: Your child should be aware of the basics of their condition – signs of an allergic reaction, a flare-up or side effects of the medication. Your child should know proper dosages and be aware of when and how often to take the medication.

Keep tabs on the supply: If the medication will be stored at school, check often to ensure there is an acceptable supply, so there are no missed doses. Make sure the medication stays in its original container and label.

Morning game plan: School mornings can be hectic, so try to fit in the morning dose into the morning routine. Also, have a back-up plan in place if that morning dose is missed and your child needs to take it at school.

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