It's a frightening sign of the times: Nationwide, only about half of schools have a full-time registered nurse. Consumer Reports explains what you need to know to keep your child healthy in the classroom.
Josephina Liranzo has two daughters with seasonal asthma. Both need to be given medication during school.
"I am very dependent on the nurse. If they don't provide the medication or she doesn't get medication to my daughters, they will get worse and worse and they will get sicker and sicker," Liranzo said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a nurse should be present full time at every school. But faced with budget cuts many schools are opting to have a nurse onsite only part time, or not at all.
"This means relying on teachers and staff to dispense medication, treat injuries and handle emergencies," said Lisa Gill, Consumer Reports.
At the same time children are going to school with complex medical needs, like food allergies and asthma. So if your child needs medication during school what can you do?
Make sure you give explicit instructions to the person in charge of dispensing your child's medication. Make sure to label it clearly.
"For more serious conditions like asthma, diabetes or epilepsy ask your pediatrician to submit an action plan to the school that outlines the necessary steps," Gill said.
For example, when a student with asthma should use a rescue inhaler, when a student with diabetes should be given insulin or what to do in case of seizure.
As for Liranzo, she is thankful her school has been able to keep a nurse full-time.
"If there was not a nurse here, I would be very stressed," Liranzo said.
Consumer Reports also said to know your rights. A federal law - commonly known as the 504 Plan - says schools must accommodate the specific needs of your child, if your child has a disability and is eligible. And allow your child to participate safely and equally alongside his or her peers during a normal school day.
All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2016. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org
Consumer Reports: School nurse shortage
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