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What to Consider if Your Child Needs Medication at School


It’s that time of year again.  The new school year is just days away.  Most parents have already been out and about shopping for school supplies.  But if your child has any medical problems, this is something you need to think about too.  Is your child going to need to take medication at school?

Schools have pretty strict rules on having medications available at school.  Having your teenager show up with a motrin in his pocket can lead to some pretty stiff consequences.   If you are planning to have medication at school for your child, you will need to fill out certain paperwork.  Check with your school nurse or print them out online to fill out.

Over the Counter Medication

Maybe your child gets migraines or really bad cramps with her periods.  If you are expecting it to be an issue more than once or twice per year, it can be helpful to have something in the nurse’s office to take if needed.  Check with your school on requirements.  However, most schools only require that you fill out a paper giving the dose and permission for use at school and an unopened bottle of the chosen medicine.

Asthma medication

If your child has asthma, it is important that there is an inhaler at school for them to use if needed.  They will also need a properly fitting spacer so that they can get the right dose of meds.  These forms DO need to be filled out by your doctor.  The school will also likely need an asthma action plan filled out as well.  If possible, try to get all forms necessary for school so that you are not having to race to the school at the last-minute to put out fires.

Food Allergies

If your child has a food allergy, there will be several forms that need to be filled out.  Often there is a dietary form that specifically states that your child is not to be given that food.  There is also an allergy action plan that will need to be filled out.  All children with severe food allergies MUST have an epi-pen at school in case of a significant allergic reaction.

Sometimes anaphylaxis isn’t easy to recognize.  If your child has had an anaphylactic reaction in the past, make sure the nurse and your child’s teacher know.  Consider bringing a handout on signs of anaphylaxis along with your school paperwork so that those watching your child understand what to watch for.  For information on food allergies, check out for lots of good information. Next week, I will be writing about recognizing anaphylaxis, so stay tuned!

ADHD medication

Most kids with ADHD take their meds at home in the morning before coming to school.  But there are some situations where taking it at school may be a better option.

Your child goes between 2 different households

Passing the medications back and forth between parents can be a challenge.  If possible, it is best to give these medications at the same time every day.  Sometimes, parents and step-parents can work this out flawlessly.  But if it is a struggle, consider having your mini take the meds at school.

Your child goes to before care

If your child is at before-care 2 hours before starting school, there may be issues with them wearing off too early in the day.   In this case, it may be best to have your youngster take their meds as soon as they get to school.

You are trying to stretch the dose

If your child’s medication is wearing off just a tad too soon, waiting to give it at school may make the difference between staying at the current dose and making changes.

What medications do NOT need to be given at school

  1.  Prescription allergy medications like zyrtec or claritin.  These are once a day medicines that should be given at home.
  2. Antibiotics.  Unless specifically stated by your pediatrician, antibiotics should not need to be given at school.  If you have concerns about the dosing schedule, make sure to check with your doctor.
  3. Daily nose sprays such as Flonase or Nasonex.

Good luck with the start of the school year!  And if you have any questions about if your child should have their medications at school, ask your friendly pediatrician!



Posted in General, Middle and High School, Parenting, Preschool and elementary

1 Comment

  1. Kristen Stuppy

    This is a fantastic reminder to all parents of school aged kids. I recommend whenever you sign your kids up, whether it’s school, a camp or a sport: learn what forms are required and be sure they can be done. So many kids scramble at the last minute for a physical because it’s been too long since the last one to sign the form. Keep your kids up to date with their well visits and bring all the forms to that visit!

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