Back to school is just around the corner in Michigan, and allergy season has not let up! It’s time to refill those prescriptions in time for the first day of school.
Schools require that any prescription medication kept in the office be in the original box with your child’s name and prescription label on the front. Don’t get stuck without a new prescription on the first day of school. Make sure to check with your pharmacist on the status of your prescriptions this week, and get any last minute doctor appointments to renew prescriptions taken care of.
Medication with the child:
Michigan law states that your child can possess and use an asthma inhaler at school without going to the school nurse or school office. For older children, having a rescue inhaler (such as albuterol) in their backpack or at their desk, may ease any stress over going to the office to get their medication. For younger children, you may want more control over when your child uses his medication. A trip to the office to get their inhaler will most likely lead to a call home and an assessment of their condition by an adult, like the school secretary.
Michigan law also allows for children to carry an epinephrine auto-injector (Epi-pen) or epinephrine inhaler to treat anaphylaxis. As with the asthma inhaler, Epi-pens can be kept in a child’s backpack or in their desk. If you choose to allow your child to carry an Epi-pen with them to school, I also recommend having one in the office as well. The proximity of the Epi-pen to your child is of the utmost importance when dealing with an anaphylatic attack. Having one in the office is added security that a life-saving injection can be located when needed. For younger children, some parents choose to ask the teacher to keep an Epi-pen in her desk. This way, the teacher does not have to leave the room and waste time looking for the Epi-pen in the midst of an allergic attack.
If you decide to have your child carry their medication with them, the following guidelines must be met:
- The student must have written permission to possess and use their inhaler/epi medications from his or her physician or other health care provider authorized to prescribe an inhaler;
- If the student is a minor (under the age of 18), they must also have permission from his or her parent or legal guardian to possess and use their inhaler/epi medications; and
- The principal or chief administrator at the school must have received a copy of each written approval for the student. (AIM)
Make sure to review the proper use and dangers of medication misuse with your child before letting them carry it to school. Their medication is for emergencies only and is not to be used by any other student.
Medication in the office:
Most medications are kept in the school office. Be aware that medications are sometimes kept under lock and key and can not always be accessed quickly. If you have a concern over the storage of your child’s medications, talk to the school secretary, or whatever staff member would be accessing the medication, about your needs. There are schools that keep certain medications, like Epi-pens, in easy to reach locations while other medications are kept more out of the way.
To eliminate any first day hiccups, find out your school’s policy regarding medications at school. Get all the proper paperwork signed, and refer to Michigan law (Michigan Compiled Law 380.1179) regarding carrying medications if you are confronted with reservations by school officials.
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