Many of us have been busy these past few weeks getting our kids ready for the school year. If your child is one of the 6.5 million kids in the U.S. being treated for a chronic medical condition such as asthma or diabetes, your preparation 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 is allowed to carry the medicine and take it without supervision?
- Provide clear instructions: Prepare a typed list of all medications with warnings and storage requirements. Also include an action plan school staff can refer to in an emergency. Make sure your child, his teachers and the appropriate school administrator have current copies.
- Know how your child will receive the medication: Will she be expected to report to a certain place at a certain time, or will she be called to do so? What is the policy for field trips?
- Keep your child informed: Your child should be aware of the basics of his 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 he is supposed to take it.
- Keep tabs on the supply: If the medication will be stored at school, check often to ensure there is an adequate supply so there are no missed doses. Make sure the medication stays in its original container and label.
- A.M. game plan: School mornings can be hectic, so try to integrate 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.
Paul Reyes is the host of “Ask the Pharmacist,” an Express Scripts radio program that encourages healthy behaviors and medication safety.