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Public schools health services

By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 4, 2002

MEDICATION POLICY

School district personnel will be authorized to help students take prescription medication according to the Florida Statute 232.46. Nonprescription medication will be handled in the same manner.

All medication must be in the original container with a pharmacy label. A separate medication authorization form is required for each drug. The prescription bottle must be within the expiration date. All medication must be brought to the school by adults. Medicines and treatments considered outside medical protocols, such as herbal treatments for ADD/ADHD, caffeine pills, aloe for burns and meat tenderizer for bee stings, require a physician's note.

Children should only take medicine at school if it is necessary to do so during school hours -- for example, medicine prescribed to be given three times a day could be given before school, after school and at bedtime instead of during the school day.

Over-the-counter medications are treated as prescriptions. Students should be taken for medical attention if a health condition requires the use of over-the-counter medication for three days.

Students cannot carry any medication, including Tylenol, eye drops, cough drops, etc. Students who are asthmatic and use an inhaler or students with severe allergies who use an epinephrine injection (such as the EpiPen or Ana-kit) are allowed to carry medications at school with the permission of their physician and a parent or legal guardian. Make sure the inhaler and EpiPen (not just the box) are labeled with the student's name. Special permission for these medications must also be secured.

IMMUNIZATIONS

The Citrus County Health Department in Lecanto requires an appointment for immunizations. Be sure to bring shot records.

These immunizations normally include a course of five diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis vaccinations, four polio vaccinations, three hepatitis B vaccinations (two, if qualified for hepatitis 2 dose series), two measles/mumps/rubella vaccinations and one chicken pox (or a date when the child had chicken pox) to start kindergarten.

Blue cards (which are the official immunization document required by the state of Florida) can be completed by the Health Department, a physician's office or by a school nurse. Entrance into prekindergarten also requires the chicken pox immunization or date of the disease.

The hepatitis B series takes four to six months to complete. If a child has not completed the series, the child will be allowed to start school with a valid temporary blue card and be monitored for compliance. If the temporary card expires, the child will be excluded from school until the next shot is given.

Students in the seventh through 12th grades are required to have the hepatitis B series, second MMR and a tetanus booster in addition to the initial school entry immunizations. Students who are retained in the 12th grade are also required to meet the same rule.

There is a national shortage of tetanus vaccine at this time. This has affected secondary students receiving boosters for the past two years and now will affect primary school students in need of their fourth and fifth DPT booster shots. Students will be allowed in school with valid temporary blue cards and will be notified when the serum is available.

PHYSICALS

Students entering kindergarten must provide proof of a current physical examination by a physician or the Citrus County Health Department before the first day of school. Students entering a Florida school for the first time also need to show proof of a physical within the last year.

The Citrus County Health Department requires appointments for physicals: in Crystal River, call 795-6233; in Inverness, call 726-1731; and in Lecanto, call 527-0068. The charge for physicals is $35, on a sliding scale. Bring proof of income.

-- Information provided by the Citrus County School District

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