Ouch! Paper Cuts, Sick Students And Other Things

This is a companion piece to yesterday’s post about keeping your room clean and germ reduced. Students (and you) will get ill and have accidents. It is a fact of life. Most of these accidents are of the very minor kind. Since journalists work with paper and sometimes scissors, this usually means minor cuts. At the start of every school year our school nurse gives us a health survival kit. This contains one set of latex gloves, four band aids, four safety pins and five health referral forms. I always supplement to this and I recommend you do too.

Here’s what I stock up on each year. Don’t forget to buy it cheaply and deduct it from your taxes, but remember there is a maximum that the Feds will allow you to deduct.

Band Aids: I get a box of these things each school year and usually run out before the end of May. We do have paper cuts and the occasional scissor cut, but more often than not it is a kid with new shoes or one who cut themselves in the hall between classes. I could send them to the nurse and lose them for 15-20 minutes (half the period – I’m a long way from the nurse’s office a three or four minute stroll) or I can give them a band aid or two and send them to the restroom to wash it off.

First Aid Cream: I get a small tube of this germ fighting ointment too. Tell them to use it sparingly. A dab will do ya.

2×2 Gauze Patches and Medical Tape: Sometimes a band aid isn’t big enough for a long scratch or cut. I’m not talking about a deep cut, but a long cut that just scratches the surface.

Peppermint Candies: These are doubly useful. In most schools, even high schools, kids can not take ANY medicine without going to the nurse. This includes medicated throat lozenges. So a lot of parents won’t give their kids anything to take at school for their sore throat. So I keep some candies on hand. Give them two, that should last them a while. Tell them to suck on it slowly, not to eat it. Second use is for kids who have low blood sugar. Now, this is important – don’t give anything to a diabetic, let the nurse deal with it. But if they are not diabetic and haven’t eaten anything for more than 12 hours, they may get low blood sugar. This happens more than it should with high school girls trying to lose weight. They starve themselves, they get sick to their stomachs, clammy and worse. If you can get them to eat, even better. But a little sugar will keep them from throwing up in your room. Don’t give them too much sugar either. A little water is good too, but again, everything in moderation. So, get a bulk bag of these things for like $3 for 100-150.

Safety pins – These things are not really a medical supply, but more of an emergency clothing helper. At least once a month, I have a student come and tell me that they, or their friend, is having a clothing emergency. They are usually telling the truth. Ripped, torn or just loose a the seams, clothes come apart for dozens of reasons. I buy safety pins in bulk (under $3 for a bag of 100). I usually buy two bags, large and small. I give them out liberally to any who need them. That has included myself more than once in 12 years.

Cups: If you have a student who is feeling a little under the weather and needs something to drink, you don’t want to make them walk down the hall to the water fountain. I recommend keeping some paper or plastic disposable cups in your first aid kit.

Latex Gloves: Our nurse gives us one pair at the start of each school year. I keep them in a quart sized zipper bag. Each year I add another pair and check the old ones to see if they still feel safe to use. I’ve only needed to use them once, but didn’t have time to go and get any. So I didn’t. It was after school and I heard a horrendous noise near my classroom. I went out to investigate and found that one of my student’s sister had been playing around on the stairs with a friend and fell. She had cut herself on her hand and smashed her nose. She was otherwise fine, but bleeding. Blood is a serious disease vector, but I didn’t think about that at the time. Her brother (who was working on a project in my room) and I helped her up and walked her to the school nurses office where the after school duty Asst. Principal helped take care of her and called her parents. Sometimes you have to be more concerned for their well being than your own. If you do get bodily fluids on you, wash up as soon as is practical. Use hot water and soap. This will kill most germs and your skin, if unbroken will protect you from most others.

Lysol Spray: If you ever have a student toss their cookies in your classroom, then you will want this to help cover the smell. Even after the custodian comes to clean it up.

First Aid Training: This won’t fit in your box, but in your mind. I’ve taken several first aid courses over the years and I’m glad I did too. I’ve had students pass out in my class, get sick outside of it, get hurt and need help. Sure, the nurse is in the building, but on a field trip, after school hours, or sometimes they need help until the nurse can arrive – then YOU are the nurse. The more you know, the better. You may not be required to take a first aid course, but it is a smart thing to do when you are in parentis locus in other words – you are responsible for them.

Nurse’s Phone Number: Post it prominently in your classroom near the phone.

So, this summer, hit up the dollar store or Walmart and stock up on first aid supplies.

Mr. C


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