Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back to School with Allergies

For us the start of the new school year is just two short weeks away.  The summer passed in it's usual lazy blur, with the time continuum only summers have.  Long days full of sunshine and unscheduled relaxation and silly fun.  Days packed from dawn until dusk with a flurry of fantastic summer activities.  And the ability to control (mostly) how those days are interspersed, so that no one is ever too tired of one or the other.

School however, means return to routine.  Standard bedtime, standard wake time, standard school day.
Packing lunches.  Training the new new teacher to see the subtle signs that you pick up on so easily.

I'm in prepare mode now.  I thought I'd share my checklist with you:

  • Gather medication authorization forms.  We have one for the epinephrine auto injector, one for the inhaler, one for the topical steroid, and one for the benadryl fast melts.  We also have an allergy action plan that stays with her medications.  (Print out several on florescent paper.) This time of year is crazy busy for allergists doing last minute forms, so if you haven't turned them in yet hustle over and drop them off soon!  Most allergists now charge a small fee for this service.  (If I were filling out a few hundred forms I would want to be compensated for my time too!  Be kind, the fee is well deserved. Yes, even if the nurse did do many of the forms.  She needs paid too.)
  • Create a medicine kit.  I've seen too many nurses stations overloaded with zip-lock bags of medicines they must dig through to find the appropriate child's stash.  I prefer to put my kiddo's medicines into a container that is instantly recognizable. (I like this one.)
  • Make a folder of teacher handouts.  Yes.  I do this.  I put together some basic allergy information that I feel is essential for the teacher to understand, and I deliver it to them the week before school starts.  We have a short meeting and I hand it off, so that the information can be fresh in her mind at the start of the year.  Nothing lengthy, a few short bits that convey a lot of meaning for us. Teachers have enough to do the week before school, they are not going to read any novels on allergy care!
  • Review your 504.  Make sure it is current, and does not need updates or additional accommodations based on the new grade, or health changes over the summer.
  • Make sure your child's self carry epi-case is up to another year of service.  Order a new one now if needed. (There's a great list of places to buy here.)
Keep in mind, this is a BACK to school list.  Not a first time at school list, which is very different.  My little one is going into 5th grade (How did that happen?!?) and this has become a less intense preparation mode.  

I hope that back to school goes well for all of you!  New teachers can make for a nervous first week, especially for us allergy mamas.  Have faith that teachers chose their job because they love kids, and they want to keep yours safe.  Just a bit of extra education and kindness from you and it'll be a great team.  But that's another post!

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