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CF Care: Back to School

The summer months have flown by and it’s that time again—back to school! If your child with cystic fibrosis (CF) is just beginning primary school, our school toolkit contains some very helpful tips from CF parents, teachers who have taught students with CF as well as CF clinic nurses. Below are some of the best to ensure a smooth transition:

Eating and Hydration

  • It can be hard to make sure your child takes in enough water during the day. Ask their teacher to allow them to carry a water bottle with them at all times to encourage water consumption
  • Some children with CF will need additional snacks to account for their increased energy needs. Ask their teacher to let them snack as needed (or to let them keep snacks in their desk to minimize disruption to the class)
  • Your child can take their enzymes up to 30 minutes after eating if they forget to do so before. Ask the head office if they can keep a backup supply in case your child forgets them or runs out

Hygiene

  • Provide your child with pocket-sized, alcohol-based hand sanitizer for their backpack and desk and encourage them to use it after touching common surfaces
  • Inform your child’s teacher that they will require frequent trips to the washroom and ask them to seat them on the perimeter of the classroom by the door to facilitate access
  • Practice proper hand-washing techniques with your child, such as singing the ABCs for 30 seconds to ensure sanitization
  • Ask your child and their teacher to maintain a safe distance between them and anyone with a cold or flu to minimize the risk of infection

Physical Activity

  • Above all, children with CF are kids and will want to rough and tumble and play with their peers
  • Exercise is as a great therapy and children with CF should be allowed to participate in any activities with which they feel comfortable (as long as they hydrate!)
  • However, they might feel tired after an early-morning treatment or bout of sickness so they should be allowed to set their own pace or sit out if needed.

Going to school is a very exciting time for any child, and CF shouldn’t keep any child from benefitting fully from the experience. Communication with school staff is key; let them know when your child will be absent and ask them about any concerns they may have. Consult our school toolkit for resources and talking points to ensure that your child has a happy and healthy school year!

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