Emergency Medical Situations In The Classroom
By: Kaicey Weber and Allison Wood
Created: April 2017
Most teachers enter a classroom ready with multiple lesson plans, and backup ones just in case. But what does a teacher do when a student with a medical condition enters their classroom or an emergency medical situation occurs in the middle of class? Specific health conditions teachers will encounter are food allergies, and students with seizure disorders such as epilepsy. The following web page outlines warning signs, tips, strategies, and resources on students with these health conditions.
Why know about Medical Emergencies?
What to do before an emergency:
What are common medical conditions you will encounter in the classroom?
1 in 13 children or 2 students in every classroom have a food allergy
What teachers should know before the first day of school:
What are your students allergic to and the signs of their allergic reactions?
How to respond if your student has an allergic reaction?
How to administer epinephrine
Food allergy reactions can be unpredictable. About 1 of 4 students who have a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction at school have no previous known food allergy.
What to look for:
Children with food allergies might communicate their symptoms in the following ways:
Tips for parents:
1. Communicate with the school (Write school nurse and principal, Send copies of forms, Ask school if they have food allergies management policies in place)
2. Meet with a doctor to get proper forms filled out and medication
3. Meet with school food distributor to find out how they handle meals in the cafeteria
4. Meet with school teacher to discuss classroom management
Allergic Reaction Plan:
Convulsions or sudden falls, Blank staring, Distortions of the child's environment which others can not see, Dazed trances where memory is not working.
Types of seizures:
Generalized tonic-clonic: Convulsions which the student jerks or stiffens, may lose bladder and bowel control, lasts a minute or two and student bay be confused as their consciousness returns.
When should EMS be called:
How to help other children understand:
What happened to the child is called a seizure.
It happened because for just a minute or two the child’s brain did not work properly and sent mixed up messages to the rest of his body. Now that the seizure is over, his brain and his body are working properly again.
Having seizures is part of a health condition called epilepsy, which some children have.
Epilepsy is not a disease and it can’t be caught from other children.
Children who have this condition take medicine to prevent seizures, but sometimes one happens anyway.
Allow student to speak to class to explain their condition if they are comfortable with that
Allow a medical professional to come in and teach about them if the child would like.
Seizures stop by themselves, but it’s good to know first aid steps that will keep a child safe while the seizure’s happening
Signs of a seizure:
Brief staring spells (5-10 seconds) in which the child does not respond to direct attempts to gain his attention
Periods of confusion
Sudden loss of muscle tone
Episodes of rapid blinking, or of the eyes rolling upwards
Inappropriate movements of the mouth or face, accompanied by a blank expression
Aimless, dazed behavior, including walking or repetitive movements that seem inappropriate to the environment
Involuntary jerking of an arm or leg
Above all, know your students! Understand the medical conditions that are in your class and school so you can prepare for them. Talk with your school about their procedures they have in place before you start teaching. Have open communication with your students so they know what to do in a medical situation. Remember to always stay calm and always do what you think is best for your student!
F. (2016, August 11). What Teachers Should Know About Their Students with Food Allergies. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from https://blog.foodallergy.org/2016/08/11/what-teachers-should-know-about-their-students-with-food-allergies/
Gupta, R. C. (Ed.). (2016, June). Febrile Seizures. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/febrile.html
Health, C. O. (2008, October 01). Medical Emergencies Occurring at School. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/122/4/887
How are Teacher Trained to Handle Medical Emergencies? (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://www.topeducationdegrees.org/faq/how-are-teacher-trained-to-handle-medical-emergencies/
Kids with Food Allergies. (2015). Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/page/food-allergy-school-planning-tips-for-parents.aspx
Mahoney , D. (2014). Plan now to deal with medical emergencies in schools. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from https://www.districtadministration.com/article/plan-now-deal-medical-emergencies-schools
Your Child at School and Child Care. (2014). Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/seizures-youth/about-kids/your-child-school-and-child-care