The Acid Reflux and Back-to-School Guide:
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More from Jan:
Before you know it, summer will be over and the school bus will come to bring your little refluxer to school. If your child is going to school for the first time, you may be a bit anxious about managing acid reflux at school. Even if your child has been attending school for a few years, a new school year brings new teachers and new routines. Now is the time to establish a plan for managing acid reflux at school. Most schools are open during the summer with limited office hours. So take a break from shopping for school supplies and call now before the back to school rush begins.
Ask to schedule a meeting to discuss your child's health concerns. You may be referred to the principal, school nurse or a teacher. The goal of the meeting is to answer any questions about gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and inform the staff of the symptoms and treatments. You might want to make a list of important points to remember such as the symptoms the school staff might see at school. My refluxers could never face breakfast, but they were ready for a for a snack/breakfast break by mid morning. It was very important for the school staff to understand that they were coming to school on a few sips of water to fuel their brains and the morning snack was essential to their alertness and school success.
The school staff may not be familiar with acid reflux, so it is essential to share information about the reflux triggers that affect your child. This might include foods your child needs to avoid as well as limiting vigorous exercise after lunch. Let the staff know what the reflux relievers are. This might include eating slowly and chewing carefully, having access to snacks, smaller meals and medication. You should also discuss emergency plans, when to call home and when to use medication. Some parents download a copy of the booklet, "Going to School with Acid Reflux" from the PAGER Association website at www.reflux.org to give the school staff additional information.
Sample School Meeting Notes:
Age: 6 years.
About Acid Reflux: Reflux is the backwashing of food from the stomach to the esophagus. The reflux has caused irritation to her esophagus and stomach, and her treatments include a special diet and medication. The reflux triggers asthma and has affected her growth so she is very small for her age.
Reflux Symptoms: Rebecca often experiences stomach pain during and after a meal. She will burp and clear her throat/cough often, especially after a meal.
Reflux Triggers: The reflux is worse if Rebecca eats dairy products and spicy foods or engages in vigorous sports such as running just after a meal. I will provide all of her food for school.