Medical Emergencies Series: Schools
Peanuts, bees, shellfish, eggs, and milk. What do these all have in common? They are typically seen as trigger foods for allergies in children and adults alike. Most individuals are aware of their allergies, but they can be triggered at any time. Knowing how to respond and what to do during medical emergencies at your school can save the life of a student, a staff member or a parent.
Many students are on strict diets for food allergies and sensitivities, and must be aware of what they are putting in their body. Teachers have a large task of ensuring that younger children in their care are steering clear of any foods or animals that may cause an adverse, life threatening reaction. Teachers are typically well trained on these medical conditions and know how to react when a student presents symptoms. This not only includes food allergies, but also asthma and medical conditions such as seizures. Teachers know to get the students epi-pen or their inhaler and follow the instructions from there, but what if a teacher has a medical emergency, do students and other staff members know how to react?
The school nurse is well trained and should be utilized when planning for unexpected medical emergencies in students and staff. Have your school nurse do presentations to the students on who to get if something happens to their teachers, and what to do until help arrives.
Staff may know how to use an epi-pen or an inhaler, but do they know the procedures in case of a medical emergency? Training is the most important aspect to responding to emergencies. Here are some topics that should be discussed at training:
- Who do I call?
- Who takes notes as the event progresses?
- Who takes the other children to a safe place?
- Who meets and directs the first responders?
- Who contacts the family members?
At one point, during college, I worked with children. We had lots of bumps and bruises and went through many bandages and ice packs. One thing I always noticed was that when I reached for a first aid kit, something that I needed was missing. First aid kits are a critical aspect to responding to a medical emergency and should never be missing vital pieces. When you use an item out of a first aid kit, make sure you replace it with a new one.
Medical emergencies can present themselves with no warning, but having the training and knowledge to respond will help it go smoothly and without repercussions. Have an awareness of medical conditions for your students and give students directions in case something happens to one of their teachers. Knowledge and training are a powerful tool that should be utilized, especially during medical emergencies.