The Rural Pharmacist: Back to School
-Henry Tempelman, Pharmacist & Owner
Here we go again. Back to the classroom for another year of discovery, learning and growth. Many of us are sad to see summer vacation in the rear-view mirror, but September returns the whole family back to a routine and that can take some adjustment, for both the parent and the child. We hope this summer brought many memories.. it was memorable for my wife and I with the arrival of our baby boy!
Here’s a couple things to keep in mind, other than picking a killer first-day-of-school outfit!
-Medication at School: If your child uses daily prescription medication, ask your pharmacist to provide two labelled medication vials, one for home and one for school. If your child has multiple prescriptions mediations or complex dosing, another option is home and school blister packs, which can make it easier for school staff to follow dosing directions with multiple medications, like seizure prevention medications for example. We have a few different options at our locations, free of charge. We can also provide information leaflets on each medication as a reference for staff.
-Healthy Sleep: Studies show that children thrive on a regular bedtime routine. Many adults get by with less sleep than what is recommended (which could be another topic for another article), but sleep deprivation in a developing child or teenager can affect mental and physical performance at school, including behaviour, immune system regulation, memory. Make sufficient sleep a family priority – it’s just as important for your health as a healthy diet and exercise!
-Screen Time: Monitor screen time and keep screens (Phones, laptops, iPads, TV’s) out of bedrooms. Your mini-me might not be fond of this idea, but studies show that turning off screens 1 hour before bedtime has improved quality of sleep, which demonstrates the health benefits discussed above. Try the 3 B’s – Brush, Book, Bed.
-Epi-Pen: Following a national backorder this summer, EpiPens should be available by the time of publishing for this newsletter. Check the expiry on your pens before you provide one to school. Remember these are now covered by OHIP+!
-Asthma Inhalers: Maintenance inhalers for asthma can usually be taken at home before and/or after school, but it’s a good idea to have a “Rescue” inhaler such as Ventolin (generic salbutamol) at school if there are triggers like allergens or physical activity. OHIP+ also covers one Aerochamber device per year per person so it might be a good idea, if possible, to have an aerochamber at both home and school as well. Not familiar with Aerochambers? Our pharmacists can demonstrate their use and how they can benefit asthma control. Asthma control is important to prevent missed school days and missed school activities.
ADHD Medications: These medications can help a child focus their thoughts better and avoid distractions. Although these medications come with some public controversy and debate, these medications are proven to be safe and effective when used appropriately. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about different options (ie. long acting vs short acting) and how different alternatives or dosing schedules can improve outcomes and side effect management.
Antibiotics: With everyone back at school, kids get in the habit of sharing everything, including bugs. Antibiotics aren’t always the answer when your child is sick. Many cases of sore throat and runny nose can be caused by viruses and antibiotic treatment will only cause diarrhea and disrupt gut flora rather than cure a viral infection.
What can you do about a viral infection? Other than prevention hand hygience and/or the flu vaccine- both the flu shot and nasal vaccine will be available at both our Rosslyn and Kakabeka locations- you can manage the symptoms with over-the-counter options.
Most bacterial infections improve about 48-72 hours after starting an antibiotic and, in general, a person is no longer contagious 24 hours after starting the antibiotics, although that period may vary. In fact, many infections are contagious before symptoms are even present.
We hope that everyone had an enjoyable summer and continues to enjoy the beautiful weather for (hopefully!) another few weeks! Good luck returning to school! We’re here to help with any of your health or medication-related questions J